That a big breath and start breathing, you do not answer the summons. The summons denotes that you were served papers; divorce papers.You have 20 days from the date of that service to answer the petition for dissolution of marriage with children and property and file your counterpetition. The real deal will probably occur at mediation. There you will find out what really is being sought by the wife, unless you are sent settlement papers. Please consult an attorney to find out what your rights and responsibilities are in your case. This response does not create any attorney client privilege. Connie R. Stephens
This is MUCH too complicated an issue for this forum. You MUST get an experienced family law attorney in your area involved asap! Now that suit has been filed, there are time deadlines that you must adhere to. Move quickly on getting yourself representation....
You have 20 days from the date you receive the summons and petition to file an Answer to the Petition. You can do it yourself, but you should hire competent local counsel to assist you through the process.
Your first step might be to consult with an attorney just to get an understanding of your rights and responsibilities are in the suit.
The Florida Supreme Court has approved specific forms to use in family law cases, and I will provide you with a link to those forms, but it is important for people to know WHY they are using the forms. Filling in blanks and checking off boxes are easy, but there are important rights and considerations that you may not know about that you would be waiving. That is why a consultation with an attorney is essential.
I hope you found this response to be of assistance. This response shall not be considered the rendering of legal advise but instead a general response to a general question. While Avvo is a wonderful resource, nothing can be a substitute for an in-depth consultation with an attorney in the jurisdiction in which the law is to be applied. This response shall not be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it create an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to further inquiry from the questioner.
Before you get too upset, remember that the Petition typically draws the largest box possible in regards to the possible relief either party could hope to receive. In many cases lawyers will draft petitions with things that they likely won't get but need to keep certain things at issue. It may well be the case that she does not expect many of the things she is asking for. That being said you should consult an attorney to review the specifics of her petition and related paperwork.
Before I knew anything about family law, I thought it was this simple myself. Somebody served me with some papers so what do I do with them? As you can see from the other lawyers who have responded, you are in over your hear, sir, and without a lawyer you are very likely to screw it up. The courthouse is like a minefield, and you are the poor guy walking around without a guide. So the answer is very simple, isn't it? HIRE A LAWYER..
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