If your spouse has served you with a Complaint containing family law claim/claims, the best thing you can do is set up an appointment with a knowledgeable family law attorney right away. From the moment you are served with a family law Complaint, usually either by sheriff or by certified mail, the deadline clock starts ticking.
Deadlines and required actions will vary depending upon what kind of family law Complaint you have received, so it is very important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible to make sure you understand what you need to do next.
The First Step You Should Take for a Family Law Complaint
First, in most cases you will want to file a response to the family law Complaint that you have received. Under North Carolina law, you have 30 days from the day you were served to respond to a Complaint or you will be at risk of various consequences including a default judgment being entered against you.
It is very important to note that if you and your spouse have not settled matters between you regarding issues such as property division and alimony, and you receive a Divorce Complaint from your spouse, you are at high risk of losing your ability to file any necessary marital claims prior to the entry of a divorce judgment.
Again, it is imperative that you seek the advice of a knowledgeable family law attorney once you have received any kind of family law Complaint from your spouse.
Requirements You Must Meet After Being Served a Complaint
Second, if the family law Complaint has been filed in Wake County, there are additional requirements you must meet under the local Family Court Rules depending upon what kind of claim/claims has/have been filed.
For example, if your spouse has filed a Complaint for Equitable Distribution (i.e. property division), you are required under the local rules to disclose certain financial information and documentation to your spouse or spouse’s attorney within a certain period of time. In turn, your spouse must disclose the same type of information to you or your attorney.
The purpose behind the disclosure rules is to encourage both spouses to be honest and open about all assets so that the most equitable division of property can be achieved. Exchange of financial disclosures is also required for several other types of family law claims such as Post Separation Support, Alimony, and Child Support.
Get Your Documents in Order
Additionally, there are certain documents that must be completed and submitted depending on the type of family law claim that has been filed.
For example, if the Complaint contains a claim for Post Separation Support and/or Alimony, you and your spouse are both required to fill out Financial Affidavits. Financial Affidavits are documents that demonstrate your financial situation more fully in regard to your income, expenses, and debts. Under the local rules, there are deadlines for exchange of Financial Affidavits, and the deadlines will depend on whether you are the spouse who is seeking support or the spouse from whom support is sought.
Family law claims and the local rules that govern them are complicated, and that is why it is so important for you to seek the advice of a family law attorney. Remember, once your spouse has served you with a Complaint containing a family law claim(s), the deadline clock begins to tick and it is imperative that you do not procrastinate when seeking legal assistance.
Contact a Raleigh Family Law Attorney for Support with Your Case
Being served with a law complaint can be very demoralizing, but you do not have to face the challenge alone. By seeking counsel from an experienced family law attorney, you can achieve a more positive outcome to your case. Contact our legal team at 919-301-8843 or by completing the online contact form.
Protecting your Privacy ~ Your privacy is our primary concern. At the Doyle Law Group, we understand the importance of protecting your privacy and will never share your contact information with a 3rd party. Contacting our law firm does not imply any form of attorney-client relationship.