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What to Do When Your Spouse Serves You With a Summons for Divorce!


I receive calls all the time from frantic spouses saying, “I’ve been served with a summons for divorce, what do I do?”

As a divorce attorney and psychologically trained mediator for over 35 years, I explain three things. First, I tell them they have been formally put on notice that their spouse has filed a petition for divorce.

I also ask them to look at the summons and complaint to see what their spouse is asking for, such as spousal support, child support, distribution of assets, division of property, visitation, and so on.

Second, I tell them that when you are properly served, a clock starts in family law court. In every state, there is a limit to the amount of time you have to file an answer to your spouse's divorce petition. The number of days you have varies from state to state. However, in every state, the countdown begins the day you are served with your divorce papers. In New York State it is 20 days.

Thirdly, I tell them not to be afraid, there is help and a few ways to respond.

My role as a divorce attorney and psychologically trained mediator is to be legally informative and emotionally supportive in a sad and difficult time. My role is to pave the path to productive discussions amidst a flurry of very high emotions and to help a spouse make the right decisions.

So if you are served with a summons, I suggest you do the following:

1. Speak with a divorce attorney/mediator. Find out what your rights are, and what you are entitled to;

2. Consider mediation - mediation is less stressful, not adversarial, more manageable, amicable, cost-effective and less time consuming;

3. Acknowledge your emotions! They will range from tears, to anger, to wanting revenge. It’s okay to feel sad and hurt!;

4. Don’t try to hold on to someone who wants out. You don’t need to spend the rest of your life with someone who doesn’t want to be with you. You deserve much better!;

5. Hire a divorce attorney/mediator who feels right to you. Someone you connect with and who will guide, support, and fight for you and your family!

Struggling relationships often end in divorce because the couple has stopped trying and drifted apart. Feelings are ignored and more often than not, one spouse wants to stay, while the other spouse wants to go.

When a spouse decides to end a marriage they have often made this decision in response to their needs not being met, a breakdown in communication, or simply not wanting to be married any longer.

If you get served with a summons, call me!

I will be happy to speak with you and walk you through your options.

Divorce doesn’t have to be painful, divisive, or expensive!

Having successfully served NYC for over 35 years as an experienced New York divorce attorney and medically trained mediator, I can tell you a divorce with dignity is possible.

Call me to schedule a free consultation. 212.734.1551.

All our FREE CONSULTATIONS are discreetly and conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.

If you are served with a summons, call me first!

Continue to stay healthy and safe!

Warm regards,


New York Divorce Attorney Lois Brenner is available to help you with your divorce!

Please call to schedule your FREE consultation now.

We can book a consultation for you immediately!

If you have been served with a summons, call Lois Brenner first!

Call 212.734.1551