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Steps to Take When You Are Served Divorce Papers in MA


In some cases, one spouse may serve divorce papers to the other without any advance warning. If you receive divorce papers in Massachusetts, it means your spouse has filed for divorce in a family court. It’s time to stay calm and speak to an accomplished Massachusetts divorce lawyer for advice on your next course of action.

At Davis Law Group, the seasoned divorce lawyer Jay Davis and his dedicated legal team are ready to assist you every step of the way in this situation. The moment you sign up with us, we will immediately move to take firm steps to protect your legal rights and help you achieve the best possible outcome from your divorce.

Read the Divorce Papers

Divorce papers in Massachusetts are legally termed as a “Complaint for Divorce.” Once the Complaint is filed by your spouse, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court will issue a Summons. A copy of the Complaint along with the court Summons will be “served” or delivered to you.

If you have not carefully read or understood the contents of the divorce papers, our family law attorneys at Davis Law Group will take the first step to read and explain to you what information is contained in the papers. The divorce papers may allege the grounds of filing for divorce and will list the date by which you must provide a response.

The papers will likely also inform whether your spouse has retained a divorce attorney or filed the papers independently. The divorce papers may also include requests from your spouse related to child custody, property division, child support and alimony, among other matters.

Provide an Answer

In general, you will be required to file an “Answer” to your spouse’s “Complaint” within 20 days from the date the papers were served to you. Your Answer will constitute the official pleading in response to your spouse’s allegations specified in their Complaint. Our attorneys at Davis Law Group will discuss the most effective legal strategy with you based on your unique circumstances and goals.

Accordingly, we will help you file the Answer, where you can deny or admit each of the allegations specified in your spouse’s Complaint. The legal procedure rules in this regard in Massachusetts require you to state your defenses to the claims your spouse has made in the complaint. In response to an allegation, if you express lack of knowledge, the court will view it as equivalent to a denial.

Consider a Motion to Dismiss

Depending on your specific circumstances, divorce attorney Jay Davis and our team at Davis Law Group may sometimes recommend filing a motion to dismiss. We can file a motion under Rule 12, asking the family court to dismiss claims against you based on one or more of the following reasons:

  • Lack of jurisdiction over the individual or the subject matter
  • Insufficiency of the process or the service of the process
  • Improper venue
  • Misnomer of a party (Rule 19)
  • Failure to state a claim on which relief could be given
  • Pendency of a previous action

In simple terms, we can help you file a motion to dismiss under the Rules under conditions, such as: (a) the process of serving the papers was incorrect; (b) the domicile is disputed; (c) a prior divorce claim is already pending, etc. Our legal team at Davis Law Group will prepare the necessary supporting documents, which are required for filing the motion to dismiss.

Consider a Cross-Complaint or Counterclaim

In some situations, divorce lawyer Jay Davis may advise you to file a counterclaim against your spouse who has served the divorce papers to you. This counterclaim can be filed as part of your Answer. With this counterclaim, you will be in a position to bring up your claim for divorce, child custody, property division, child support, and spousal support, among others.

Alternatively, you will also have the right to file a divorce cross-complaint instead of counterclaims. At Davis Law Group, we will explore all legal options and explain to you the best possible ways to approach your matter. Our in-depth understanding of how the divorce process works in Massachusetts and our years of experience in successfully representing clients in complex divorce cases can help us formulate the right legal strategy in your case.

Other Steps to Protect Your Rights in a Divorce

Divorce attorney Jay Davis will guide you in gathering identification documents, financial documents, and any other pertinent records that may be purposeful during the divorce negotiations or court proceedings.

We will also help you to protect your assets, which may include joint bank accounts, joint credit cards, and other physical or intangible assets that belong to you. Another fundamental step would be to protect your passwords, email and social media communications, and mobile devices to ensure privacy and confidentiality.

Get the Legal Advice from Davis Law Group to Protect Your Rights in a Massachusetts Divorce

Whether you have been served divorce papers from your spouse, or you wish to file for a divorce, your best bet is to have the trusted and skilled legal team at Davis Law Group on your side. Led by top divorce lawyer Jay Davis, we are equipped to help you achieve your goals in divorce, custody, support, and property division matters most effectively. To schedule your free and confidential consultation with us, call us at 617-221-354 or contact us online.

The post Steps to Take When You Are Served Divorce Papers in MA first appeared on Davis Law Group.
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