Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
When you are served with divorce papers it can be overwhelming and difficult to understand what you will do next. Once you are served a divorce petition, you have twenty (20) days to file an answer with the court and provide a copy to the your spouse or the attorney for your spouse. An answer is a document that addressing each allegation or request in the petition and goes paragraph by paragraph. It is important to know that a petition often asks for more than the other party wants because if it is not requested in the petition, then it most likely will not be addressed. Also, you have the right to file a counter-petition along with your answer. A counter-petition basically lays out your own requests and allegations and your spouse has twenty (20) days to answer the counter-petition.
It is a good idea to file a counter-petition if your spouse has asked for the marital home and you want it, or if your spouse makes the majority of the money in the marriage, then you may want to request alimony. In addition, since Florida equally divides marital property, if your spouse used money in furtherance of an affair, then you would want an unequal distribution of assets to give you back the money used for that relationship. If you are served with divorce papers, you should speak with a family law attorney to better understand your rights and options.