The process of getting divorced is never easy, even if you are the party initiating the divorce. If you don’t want a divorce, the entire process can be even more painful. If you have recently been served with a Complaint for Divorce and Summons, however, it is imperative that you read through the documents and respond to them within the time frame allotted by law. Ignoring the Complaint will not stop the divorce from happening. Instead, if you don’t respond to the divorce Complaint in South Carolina all you will accomplish is waiving your right to participate in the process.
Although it sometimes happens that both parties in a marriage decide together to end the marriage, it is more common that one spouse takes the lead in ending the marriage. Regardless of who decides to seek a divorce, the divorce process begins by filing a Complaint for Divorce with the appropriate court. A copy of the Complaint, along with a Summons, must then be served on the other party. The Complaint contains general information about the marriage and asks the court for a divorce, along with any other specific relief the Petitioner wants, such as custody of minor children or possession of the marital home. The Summons simply informs the Respondent that a Complaint for divorce has been filed and that the Respondent must filed a formal, written Answer with the court within 30 days of receipt of the copies.
If you have been served with a Complaint and Summons and you fail to file a written Answer within the 30 days of allotted time, your spouse (the Petitioner) may file a request for Default Judgment with the court. As long as you were properly served with the Complaint and the Summons the court will likely grant the Default Judgment. In essence, if the Default Judgment means that the Petition will get what he or she wanted out of the divorce because you effectively waived your right to participate in the process.
Although it may be painfully difficult to sit down with an attorney and prepare your Answer to the Complaint for divorce, in the long run it is in your best interests to do so. Failing to respond will likely be something you regret at some point down the road.
If you have been served with a Complaint for divorce in South Carolina it is important for you to sit down with an experienced family law attorney to discuss the contents of the Complaint, your rights in the divorce, and how you wish to answer the Complaint. Contact the experienced South Carolina family law attorneys at Kuhn & Kuhn Law Firm by calling 843-577-3700 to schedule your appointment.