Phoenix, AZ – When someone wants to get divorced, one of the first steps that must be taken is for the divorce paperwork to be filed in the local court system and served to their spouse. In all civil cases, this is required so that the defendant has personal notice of the lawsuit and the court can maintain jurisdiction over the person. This process of delivering the documents is sometimes called personal service. Once this step is completed, the marriage will eventually be dissolved as long as one spouse is determined to end the marriage. Anyone who needs assistance with starting a divorce case, or those who have recently received their divorce papers should meet with a family lawyer to get specific advice. 

The summons and the complaint

The complaint is the document that outlines the lawsuit. In the case of a divorce, it will notify the defendant spouse that there is going to be a dissolution of the marriage. It may also touch upon issues related to the main parts of the divorce case such as property division, child custody, and requests for alimony and child support. The documents in the summons give details about the location of the family court that has jurisdiction over the case, any pending court dates, and how the response to the complaint should be filed. Notices of later hearings work in a similar way, where the parties to the case are given the time and date that they need to appear.  

When someone retains a divorce lawyer, the firm generally handles the logistics of hiring a process server to personally deliver the documents to the spouse named in the divorce lawsuit

After the papers are served

In some cases, the person named in the divorce papers is unavailable or does not respond at all. This means that a default judgment will be entered for the spouse who is the plaintiff, although this may be set aside if the defendant is located at a later time or simply responds late. If the default judgment stands, the plaintiff essentially gets everything that they ask for in the divorce papers. 

If the defendant does respond, the case will formally begin. Divorces often take several months or even a few years to sort issues such as property division, child custody, child support, alimony, and any other matters that are relevant to the specific couple. Each person involved in the divorce should ask their lawyer for a timeframe for the case to be finalized. 

More information from a divorce lawyer 

Schneider and Onofry is a firm that helps people with various aspects of divorces, child custody cases, and alimony payments in the Phoenix area. Their attorneys are available to give advice during a consultation. 

Firm contact info:

Schneider & Onofry, P.C.

207 W. 2nd St., Yuma AZ 85364


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