Just been served with court documents by a burly stranger on behalf of your former spouse? Now what?
Follow these three simple, but crucial, steps, and discover what you, and your ex, still have in common.
Firstly, take a deep breath and some time to read the documents. But resist the temptation to respond by angrily calling or texting your ex to express your shock and outrage. There are several reasons for this, namely your ex may have no idea what the document actually says, and further the wording will typically be formal legal terminology dictated by your ex’s lawyer rather than your ex.
Secondly, ignore the natural urge to rip up the documents, or file them away, in the hope that if you destroy it, or ignore it, it will go away. It won’t.
Worse yet, in your absence a court can, and will, make orders. Orders which can be far harsher than they would have been if you had prepared a proper response, and also challenging and costly to overturn.
Next, with documents in hand, arrange a legal consultation with a family law professional – Scott Taylor – #102 – 19610 64 Avenue, Langley, 604-534-6361. Expect to pay anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more of legal advice.
Don’t expect a comprehensive review from a harried family duty counsel, or take legal advice from your dentist, or a friend of a friend, whose only family law experience is being divorced multiple times!
Thirdly, following the consultation you will need to prepare , or have prepared ,your formal written response, possibly also including a claim of your own. If you decide to prepare your own documents, at the very least, have them reviewed by a family law professional before they are filed, to ensure your legal rights are protected.
However, if you follow these three steps there is also another, potentially far more valuable, benefit to you.
By responding in an effective professional manner, both your ex, and their counsel (if any), will know you are taking matters seriously, and intend to take all necessary legal proceedings to vigorously protect and pursue your legal rights.
Consequently, you have just laid the groundwork to encourage a negotiated or mediated family law settlement. That’s because your ex is no more interested in costly, protracted legal proceedings, than you are.
You do have something in common after all, trust me.
It’s called common sense.
Better late than never!