Southern California Family Law Blog

A process server knocks at your door and hands you a set of thick divorce papers. What’s next? As you get over the shock of the impending divorce, you may be dealing with emotions ranging from surprise to anger. That is why you need to speak with a Wallin & Klarich divorce attorney right away to help you handle the legal details. Here are the steps you need to take after being served divorce papers:

  1. Consult a Wallin & Klarich divorce attorney.

After being served with divorce papers, your first step should be to consult with an experienced divorce attorney at Wallin & Klarich. Do not wait until the case to moves forward in court before taking this step. You need to understand how the law works so you can protect your legal rights.

  1. Decide how you will respond to what your spouse is requesting

Your spouse has likely served you with a summons, a document requiring you to appear in court and answer certain allegations. Your spouse has also likely served you with a petition, a document that requests a certain custody arrangement for your children and a specific division of your community and quasi-community assets. You need to determine whether you want to give your spouse what he or she is requesting in the petition.

You have these choices:

  1. do nothing, which means that your spouse will likely get whatever he or she wants;
  2. file a response with the court while working toward an agreement with your spouse; or
  3. file a response with the court that disagrees with your spouse.

If you decide to file a response, you have 30 days from the date you were served a Petition and Summons to respond.1

  1. Learn about your options.

A divorce attorney can fully advise you about mediation, collaborative divorce, default/uncontested divorce, and contested divorce. Each couple’s situation is unique. That is why it is important to talk with an attorney to determine which course is right for you.

Do not let the dollar value of your assets prevent you from going to trial. Your children or the business that you started during the marriage are priceless. You can work with an attorney to show the court that you deserve what you are requesting.

  1. Disclose financial information.

Work closely with your divorce attorney to provide your spouse with information about your assets, including income, rents, and properties; and liabilities, including ongoing costs and debts. Your goal is to present the information that you have in a truthful and complete manner.

  1. If necessary, engage in hearings or a trial.

If you and your spouse cannot agree as to how you want to handle the divorce, you can work with your divorce attorney to argue for:

  • an increase or decrease in temporary spousal support;
  • an order allowing you and your children to move to a new location;
  • an order for the other spouse to make necessary payments until the case is resolved, such as your health insurance;
  • dissolution of a family business; or
  • a restraining order to prevent your spouse from harassing you.

Divorce can be an unpredictable and messy process. An attorney can help you find, organize, redact, and request the documents necessary to get an arrangement that works for you.

What Wallin & Klarich Can Do For You

If you have been served with divorce papers, you need to speak to an experienced divorce attorney at Wallin & Klarich right away. Our goal at Wallin & Klarich is to help you reach the best resolution in your divorce case. Our attorneys have been successfully representing our clients in divorce and family law cases for over 30 years. We can help you now.

We have offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville so we can help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.


1. Calif. Family Code § 2020.

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