If you are served with a
Divorce Summons, you must respond if you wish to adequately protect your rights.
If you do not appear or if a Complaint is served file an Answer the divorce
will proceed in your absence. Since most married people have assets and
debts, may have children who are not emancipated and may own a house,
and may also have retirement benefits, it is critically important that
you protect your rights.
In NY there are guidelines to determine
child support and
spousal support. There are no formal schedules for
parenting time although many settlements follow a traditional alternate weekend, weekly
dinner visit, alternating holidays and school recess and summer break
schedule. Of course if you do not respond you will not be able to customize
the schedule to meet your needs.
If you contributed or have separate property that is not subject to
equitable distribution you will want to be active in your case so that you are able to keep your
pre-marital property or other property that falls within certain exceptions
to marital assets.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that hiring a lawyer to protect
your rights is very important. Additionally, you should seek an attorney
that predominately practices matrimonial law as they will usually be the
most knowledgeable about the changes in Family Law.