Protect YOUR Rights. Contact ADAM today.
* Indicates required questions
Name *
Phone # *
Email *
County Where You Reside:
How can we help you? *

What to Do After Being Served With Divorce Papers


What do you do next?  Whether you are expecting this or not, there is a lot to consider.  The first thing to look at is how you were served.  When your spouse files for divorce, they must have you served with papers to proceed with the divorce case.  Failure to have you properly served results in a dismissal of the divorce case.

Divorce papers can be served by personal service, certified mail, or signing for the documents.  If the papers were handed to you by a process server, or by any adult other than your spouse, you have 21 days to respond, assuming you were properly served.  If you received the papers by certified mail and signed for them, you have 28 days to respond. 

How you handle yourself early on can be vital to how successful your divorce is, as well as minimizing the emotional and mental strain that it will place on you.  It’s important to take the right steps early on so that things can be handled properly.

It does not normally make sense to refuse to accept the documents, and refusal can lead to problems with the divorce case potentially proceeding without you.  So if you become aware that someone is trying to serve you with divorce papers you should cooperate in getting your copy of those papers.

Once you are served, the divorce begins to move forward.  Choosing to hire a divorce lawyer is the best move you can make as your first step.  However, if you choose to represent yourself, you should at least meet with a divorce attorney early on in the process to get your questions answered and have your specific documents reviewed. 

The papers you are served with in a divorce include a divorce complaint, a summons, court orders, and other state required forms depending on whether or not you have minor children.  It will state, usually in very generic, non-specific terms, the details required for a divorce such as the date of marriage, and some general statements about why a divorce is being filed. The court summons is a document from the court explaining that you are a party in this case and it also states how long you have to respond. 

Read the paperwork carefully. There may be additional documents, such as a motion or court orders.  A motion is a written request asking the court to do something, and it sets a hearing date that you must prepare for and attend. The motion may request the court enter orders on issues such as who will remain in the home, who has custody of the children, parenting time, spousal support, or child support.  There may also be a court order setting court dates that you must attend. 

Your response must be filed timely for the divorce case to proceed.  Failing to respond can lead to you being defaulted, leaving you with no say in any issues in the divorce. If the documents contain a court order, you may only have 14 days to file objections to that court order.  Or, if the documents contain a motion, the court date for the hearing on that motion may be in seven days.

You also have the right to file a Counterclaim for Divorce, which is basically your own divorce complaint.  Whether this is necessary is a good discussion to have with an experienced divorce and family law attorney. 

An experienced divorce lawyer can help you with all aspects of the divorce case, including what’s expected of you, what you need to do and where and when you need to be in court. The more information you can get early on in the process, the better off you will be. 


About ADAM (American Divorce Association for Men)

The American Divorce Association for Men (ADAM) is a group of highly qualified attorneys who advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child custody and parenting time, paternity, support, property settlement, post judgment modifications, and other family law matters. Since 1988, ADAM has been aggressive, diligent, and uncompromising when representing their clients. A team of compassionate and skilled family law attorneys, ADAM is dedicated to being Michigan’s leading divorce attorneys for men.



It’s an unpleasant fact of life, but many of us have racked up a significant amount of debt. We’ve got student loans, mortgages, car payments, credit card bills, and more. When you marry, you start amassing debt for two - even more if...

What Happens to My House in a Divorce?

Many divorcing couples wonder about the division of property when they own a home or maybe more than one home.  What do you do with the house?  There are typically three options.  The first is for you to keep the home; the second...

What About Dating?

Does dating really have an effect on the divorce process?  You can probably conclude that it is not a good idea for several reasons. First of all, let’s discuss the law.  Technically, it is illegal in Michigan to have an...

Do Facebook Posts Matter in Divorce?

As divorce lawyers we are often asked about the use of Facebook and other social media preceding and during a divorce.  What you post on social media, like Facebook or Twitter, is relevant to the divorce process and can harm you. Our advice...

How To Keep Your Separate Property Separate

One of the most heavily litigated issues in divorce cases is deciding how, if at all, a party should get credit for his or her separate property.   When dividing assets in a divorce case, Michigan law first calls for the analysis of what...

How to Survive a Divorce Settlement Meeting

At some point during a divorce case, you may be facing a four-way meeting, sometimes referred to as a settlement discussion.  Your attorney may suggest this meeting, or your wife’s attorney may suggest it, but either way there is a good...

Proposed New Law- The Michigan Shared Parenting Act

Reflecting changes in family dynamics and many other factors, the Michigan Legislature is at it once again in trying to overhaul the way in which custody and parenting are determined in family court.  Numerous proposals have arisen over the...

What to Do Once Your Divorce is Over

The judgment of divorce has just entered and you are now divorced… so now what? This is actually a very important phase of the divorce process, and if you’re represented by an attorney, you may want to keep your attorney retained to...

Prenups and Trust Planning Friends, We are pleased to present to you, via the link above, the Denha & Associates May 2017 Law Blog. Our first article, "Prenups And Trust Planning", explores some of the reasons why a Prenuptial...

When You Have Married The Wrong Person

         From the perspective of a divorce attorney, “I married the wrong person”, is a fear voiced by many clients.  Even for those who are not married, the thought that you may be in a relationship or have...

When Do You Need a Business Valuation?

Guest Author: Jason W. LeRoy, ASA, CVA, CFE (Doeren Mayhew) In many divorce cases, an attorney will recommend the use of a valuation expert when a business is involved.   Valuation experts can help determine the value of a business and...

What Makes A Case Too Complicated For Mediation?

Mediation is common in Michigan divorces.  Where the parties have been unable to resolve their issues on their own or with the help of a divorce attorney, family court judges routinely send them to a mediator as an alternative to trial. ...

Men Can Get Alimony Too

There is no doubt that women have traditionally received alimony more often than men.  However, men should understand that they have just as much right to spousal support as their wives if the circumstances were reversed. You should not sell...
Page: 123456 - All
Aggressive, Diligent, and Uncompromising Representation CALL 248-356-ADAM (2326) TODAY