what to do after being served with divorce papers
Family Law Attorney
One of the first papers with which you were served likely is one called a "summons". That document likely indicates how much time you have to file your answers or risk losing by default. The time to answer is only days.
If you want an attorney to represent you, you should immediately interview a few attorneys and hire one.
If you do not have enough time to get an attorney, you likely should look into getting more time. Here in WA, one way to get more time is simply to file a notice of appearance or even call the opposing attorney to say that you are getting the answers ready to be filed. Since the courts in WA likely would not grant a default without a hearing if the respondent took any action on the case, the respondent would have a few more days.
If you are served with divorce papers in an Arizona divorce action, you will have 20 days to file a response if you are served within the state and 30 days to respond if you are outside Arizona when served. A Notice of Appearance is not deemed a responsive pleading and will not toll the time requirement. If you have missed the deadline, you have not automatically lost your case. After the deadline, the other party (or the attorney) will have to file an Application and Affidavit of Default and mail it to you. You then have another 10 days from the date of that filing to file a response. If you call the other side's attorney, he/she would be rude to file default paperwork but some will.
My practice is about 80% family law and I'd be happy to answer any other questions you have or meet with you over the phone or in person if you'd like.