I received citation/service/divorce papers– what do I do?
If you received paperwork on a divorce you need to follow the right steps to protect your interests in Texas. Most likely you received these papers in one of two ways. You may receive citation from a constable, other process server, or certified mail. Citation is notice of a divorce proceeding and the divorce decree. Citation will tell you when you must submit an answer to avoid a default judgment and losing your right to have a say in the divorce. Alternatively, you may have received the paperwork by mail or in person. If you received it from somebody else, you likely received the divorce petition and a waiver of service.
Waiver of service in a Texas divorce
A waiver of service is a document that waives formal service (receiving citation). When you sign a waiver of service you agree that you received the petition and no citation is necessary. You sign and notarize this document and send it back to the court. The key issue is that the waiver of service often contains other provisions, such as waiving your right to answer the petition and contest the divorce and waiving your right to dispute the terms of the divorce decree. By signing a waiver containing these terms you agree to accept the division of property, maintenance, custody, visitation and child support based upon the way the petitioner and the court determine. In most cases these waivers can risk placing you in a bad place. Texas divorce lawyers can assist you with determining the appropriate steps in your situation.
If you signed a waiver and sent it to the court, it is possible to revoke the waiver. You can get involved in the divorce proceedings. Part of this depends upon the terms of the waiver. If you have already sent in a waiver, time is ticking to hire a divorce attorney to try to revoke the waiver.