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What happens if I don't respond to divorce papers within the 20 days ?

Deltona, FL |
Filed under: Summons and complaint

Papers where served at my parents address on June 16th 2009. My father signed for them. I had gone away during that time and was unaware of the serving until 5 days later. I "hired" an attorney who is doing this pro bono(at his suggestion). I have tried to reach them since last wed. On Friday I spoke with atty asst and she said she would be working on my case this weekend . I had questions regarding what I wanted out of this divorce. She told me she would call me friday evening. Did not. What should I do if I can't reach them tomorrow. Is there some type of extention the courts would honor? I live in Volusia county, Florida. I am totally , permanently disabled, deemed by the State of Florida.

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

You are required to respond to the papers within 20 calendar days or you could be found to be in Default. If the 20th day falls on a weekend, then you have until the following business day to respond. You stated that you had "hired" an attorney. Did you sign any paperwork agreeing that they would represent you? If you cannot reach them, you may want to call the Clerk of Court to see if perhaps they filed something on your behalf and just didn't provide you with a copy of it. If nothing has been filed and you still cannot reach the person you believe is representing you, then it is my opinion that you should file something in writing yourself either agreeing or disagreeing with the papers that were served on you and stating your position in order to protect your rights. Any type of handwritten response is typically considered to be an Answer or response if it is filed by a party pro se. At a minimum, this would protect your interests and prevent a default from being entered (provided it's filed prior to the 20 days expiring) until you can resolve your legal representation situation.

My office offers free initial telephone consultations should you like to discuss this matter further.

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