If I’ve been served with divorce papers and I don’t agree to the terms, and can’t afford a lawyer, do I have to appear in court?

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If I’ve been served with divorce papers and I don’t agree to the terms, and can’t afford a lawyer, do I have to appear in court?

Asked on February 5, 2011 under Family Law, Nevada

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, yes, yes...sorry to be emphatic, but when served with legal papers for any kind of legal action, including divorce, you must appear in court. If you don't, you will by default--it's like forfeiting a ball game by not showing up. The other side will probably get whatever it likes, as long as there is any legal or factual basis for it. Even if you represent yourself, at a minimum, show up; and as for a lawyer, if you can't afford one, try legal aid or legal services; contact your state or local association to see if there's a recomendation to an attorey who will do some pro bono work; and/or contact a support or advocacy group for divorced or divorcing people of your gender, who may have resources or recommendations.


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