If I got served with divorce papers in California, what do I have to do? 8 Answers as of January 30, 2011

My wife and I have been separated for about two months, and she just had me served with divorce papers that she just filed. I have never been in a court before, so I have no idea what to do. What does a divorce entail? We have two kids together.

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Michael Rose Attorney at Law
Michael Rose Attorney at Law | Michael Rose
You have 30 days to respond to the divorce. If you do not then the divorce can go to default and your wife can control issue that might not be favorable to you. It is important to take part in the divorce because you have two kids.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/30/2011
Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP
Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP | Paul M. Teinert
You'll have 30 days from the time you were served until you must respond. It is important to respond so you can protect your assets and rights. If you are confused by the process you should think about hiring an attorney, especially if your spouse has hired an attorney to prepare her divorce papers. Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/30/2011
Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
After being served, you have 30 days to file a response. It is probably best that you get a consultation from a family law attorney, especially since there are children involved. If you have any further questions, please let me know.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
I have reviewed your case information and I can help you with your divorce, and take you through all the steps necessary to make as sure as can be that you give only what you must, and receive everything to which you are entitled. Since documents have been filed with the court it is very important that we speak as soon as possible, so I can evaluate your problem, and if hired protect all of your interests, hopefully without going to court. You may find some helpful information on my website. The best way to contact me for an immediate response is for you to call, which will contact me directly anytime any day (24/7). My best regards,
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
Pisarra and Grist
Pisarra and Grist | David T. Pisarra
You have 30 days from the day you were served to file a Response. That's the name of the form to file.

You can buy my book, A Man's Guide to Divorce Strategy on my website. I highly recommend you do your homework and avoid being railroaded.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    There is no way to adequately describe the divorce process in a short paragraph or two. Also, each divorce can be different based on the circumstances. It would be much easier to educate you about the divorce process relative to your circumstances via a telephone call. Most lawyers offer a free consult, including me. If you live in Sonoma or Marin County, feel free to call my office and I can fill you in on the process and what options you have relative to your specific situation.

    By the way, technically speaking, you have 30 days to respond to the divorce petition. Yet, depending on the circumstances, including whether your wife is willing to work together to finalize your divorce, that may not be necessary. Again, best to call to go over everything.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/28/2011
    Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law
    Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law | Matthew E. Lax
    You have 30 days to respond to the Petition for divorce from the date you were served. Do not delay! With two kids involved, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney to make sure you protect your rights. Feel free to call me if you are seeking to hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/28/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    You should consult with and retain a Family Law Attorney, preferably a Certified Family Specialist to represent you, without delay. From your questions, it would be risky for you to attempt to respond and proceed in Pro Per. If you can't afford an attorney, your local Superior Court should have a divorce clinic to assist you in preparing paperwork, but you would be far better off retaining an experienced Family Law Attorney. You have only 30 days from the time you were served to file and serve a "Response" and a "Declaration under UCCJEA" to the papers that were served on you, and if you fail to timely respond, your default can be taken, preventing you from having any say in the divorce case. The divorce will likely entail proceedings regarding child custody, visitation, child support, perhaps spousal support, attorney's fees, property division, allocation of debt, possibly QDROs, and any other issues which may be relevant.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/28/2011
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