Asked 3 months ago - Dallas, TXFlag
My wife has sent to me the Divorce Petition , her name was on the package , she was the sender and it was Certified Mail , The man in the post office made me to sign that green card on the Package, is that considered that I have been served with Divorce paper ??? because somebody is telling me Law enforcement should do that , not her, we were renting an apartment and I have nothing except my car which I have owned it before getting married, If I just didn't sign this petition what does she can do ?because I can't afford to pay an attorney
Based on your description, you have not been served. In light of the situation, however, you may not want to avoid responding - in order to move this forward. If you are both in agreement regarding the divorce, you may be able to afford an attorney to file an answer and prepare a decree, since you have no children or property. In fact you could agree to split the cost with her.
You technically have not been served as the other attorneys have mentioned. However, as they also mentioned you can work out an agreement with your wife and make this amicable. Also, look up various legal aid clinics in your area. Some may be able to help you with forms while others may help with representation.
Rule 106(a) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure specifically state that you can be served by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. It is common for no-children/no-property divorce citations to be served by certified mail. If she mailed it to you herself, then you have not been served (Texas Rule of CIvil Procedure 103). However, if the District Clerk mailed it for her, when you signed the green card, service was complete.
You can confirm this at this web site: http://courts.dallascounty.org/default.aspx. Click on "Family District Case Information" and search either by cause number or by party name. You will see whether according to the District Clerk's records, you have been served.
If you have been served, you must file an answer or she will be able to get a default judgment against you. The deadline for filing an answer is computed like this: Count 20 days from the day you signed the green card, then go to the next Monday. You have until 10:00 a.m. on that Monday to file your original answer.
You say there are no children and no property. But property includes debt. If she obtains a default judgment against you, who knows how the debt will be distributed?
You can file an answer yourself. The law library at the district court house (2d floor) has a form you can fill out and file with the District Clerk's office on the first floor. There is no fee for filing an answer, although they might charge you a few cents for the answer form.
When you file your answer, take the original and two copies with you. The District Clerk will keep the first copy and, after date-stamping them, return the other two to you. Mail one of the copies to your wife's attorney. Keep the other one in your file.
Once you have an answer on file, find an attorney. The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP) can provide free attorneys but probably won't in your case. They don't have enough attorneys and staffing cases that involve no assets and no children is a low priority. If you have no children and no property, a divorce does not have to be expensive. At the very least, hire an attorney for the limited purpose of reviewing any document before you sign it.
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