Do Divorce Papers Expire?

Last updated on January 17th, 2023 at 08:10 pm

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If you do not serve it on your spouse, technically, your divorce complaint or petition does not expire. However, the summons corresponding to the petition will expire.

In most states, you will have to file a summon as an additional document along with your divorce complaint. This document is nothing but information to your spouse that you are suing her/him for divorce.

The time given for serving your summon together with the divorce petition can be a short period like four months in New York. However, this time can be two years in California.

In other words, the time for filing the summon differs from one state to another. There are chances of difference in the period from one county to another in the same state.

So, the idea here is to check with your courthouse to know the time you are left with.

Do Divorce Papers Expire if not Filed?

The answer to this question differs from one state to another. However, in most cases, divorce papers do not expire but the summons associated with them can expire.

In case your summons expires because of lack of service, some states can dismiss your divorce application. But, in some states dismissals might not happen automatically.

In case your summons becomes invalid, you cannot serve them with your divorce papers. So, you will not get the service.

Without service, your divorce proceedings will not move forward. This does not mean that you will have to stay married to your spouse.

You have the option to refile your divorce papers. Again, you will have to do it with a new summon informing your spouse.

How Long do you have to Serve Divorce Papers in Texas?

In some states, the served divorce papers have a validity period. Accordingly, in Texas, once you get the divorce papers, you will get a specific period to respond.

You will get 20 days after the service date to respond. If the 21st day falls on any other day other than Monday, you will have to option to respond until the following Monday.

In this case, you will get more than 20 days to respond to the divorce papers from your spouse in Texas. Also, you will have to file your response by 10 am on the particular Monday.

How Long are Notarized Divorce Papers Valid?

Before knowing about the validity of notarized divorce papers, it would be good to first understand what it means to notarize. Let us consider that you have a crucial legal proceeding shortly.

You might be planning to make a crucial financial transaction soon. In these instances, you might wish to get your documents notarized.

It means that you will have to take some extra steps to prevent fraudulent activities. When you go for a notary process, you will fill out the documents in the presence of a notary public.

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This person called the notary public will be responsible for authenticating the validity of the documents you sign in front of him. He will ensure that you have filled the document properly.

The notary will also ensure that everyone involved in the process understands what they are signing. The notary will also verify the identities of the people involved.

In this case, the parties involved are you and your spouse. No, notary documents including divorce papers signed in front of a notary public expire.

However, the thing to remember here is that when the notary public stamps a document, he will specify the expiration date with the seal. The document is going to be valid as long as the date shown on the seal.

Before the date specified, the document will never expire.

What Happens After Divorce Papers are Served in GA?

The divorce papers that your spouse claimed in Georgia will have his/her claims. Examples of claims from your spouse include:

  •       How much alimony should she receive?
  •      What to do with the custody of kid (s)?
  •       How should be the assets divided between both?

Once the divorce papers are served by your spouse, it is now your responsibility to respond to the summon. You will have to file your answers that contain your counterclaim on the claims that your spouse has made.

When you frame your counterclaim, it is better to sit with your attorney. When preparing the counterclaim, you should consider the following factors:

  • Your particular marital status
  • The outlook you have for your future
  • The welfare of your kids

In Georgia, you will get 30 days to respond to the divorce petition filed by your spouse. When you do not do this, it means that you are waiving your right to get any notice further.

Yes, the divorce process will take place without your presence. As a result, you will lose your chance to make your claims from your spouse.

Of course, you can get a chance to file your response after the deadline. To do this, you will have to handle additional court fees and procedures.

Does a Divorce Petition Expire in Texas?

A divorce petition does not expire in Texas. Nevertheless, most courts in the state follow a concept called dismissal docket.

In the dismissal docket, any case that has crossed a particular period with no or little activity is placed. If you do not want your divorce petition to expire, you will have to file a motion to retain.

In the Motion to Retain, you will have to specify a confirmed trial date. If you do not do it, the case will get into the option called “dismissed for want of prosecution.”

Do Divorce Papers Expire in PA?

There is no such expiration date for divorce papers in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, after you file your papers, it is the responsibility of your spouse to respond within 30 days.

This period is applicable if he/she lives in the same state. If he/she is living in some other state in the US, the response should be within 60 days.

If your spouse is outside of the USA, he/she has 90 days to respond. But, if he/she does not respond within this period, the court will move forward with the divorce.

But, the court will do this only as long as the service of process has been correctly completed. If your divorce is happening on mutual consent, you need not have to appear in court.

Divorce Discovery Timeline:

The Divorce timeline encompasses different stages as listed below:

  •      Filing the petition
  •      Temporary orders
  •       Discovery
  •       The Settlement
  •       Getting ready for trial
  •       Trial
  •      Collaborative & Mediation divorce

From this list, you can understand that the Discovery Divorce is the third phase of the divorce process. During this phase, you will have to instigate developing your case against your spouse.

The Divorce Discovery Phase is where you will request and gather information from your spouse. The information you will have to gather includes mental health evaluations and parenting evaluations.

Also, you will have to gather other crucial documents supporting the divorce. Based on the cooperation you get from your spouse, the timeline for this phase can be around 6 months.

What Happens After Divorce Papers are Filed in Texas?

Once you or your spouse decides to dissolve your wedding, one of you must file a petition for divorce in court. You will have to do this in a court in Texas.

But, in Texas, you can file a divorce only when one of you has lived in the state for a minimum of 6 months. Once one of you files the petition, the other person should be provided with a copy of the petition.

Also, along with the petition, the other person should get a citation as well. If your spouse has filed the petition, he/she will serve the petition and citation by a qualified individual.

Otherwise, your spouse could personally serve you with these documents. Otherwise, he/she has the right to publicize the same through a published document.

Once you get the citation and petition, you should review them with care. The reason is that these documents will have a lot of information.

The information therein may affect your life considerably. So, carefully read the demands made by your spouse.

How Long After Filing Divorce are Papers Served?

If you are the person filing the divorce, you should have to serve the papers to your spouse within 120 days. If you do not send the papers within 120 days, your complaint will be dismissed.


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You will have to start the process again from the beginning. Are you not in a position to share the papers with your spouse within 120 days?

If this is the case, you have the option to ask the court for an extension of the time of service.

Can I Get Married While My Divorce is in Process?

It is not legal to be married to two people at the same time. So, you cannot get married before the judge signs your final judgment that you are separated from your spouse.

How Long does it Take a Judge to Sign Divorce Papers?

The time taken to finalize the divorce by having the judge sign the papers can be somewhere between six weeks to 12 months.

Why is My Divorce Case Still Open?

The reason for the divorce case to remain open can differ from one state to another. For instance, when you take the case of Michigan, each divorce case should remain open for a minimum of 60 days.

If the couple has minor kids, then there will be an additional six months waiting period. The court gives this period to spot the best interest of the kids.

The court reserves the right to waive the six months waiting period after 60 days. This move will be done by the court only in the best interest of the kids.

How Long Does a Default Divorce Take in California?

In California, after filing divorce papers from one of the partners, the other party gets 30 days to respond. If he/she does not respond, it will be considered a default divorce case.

At the end of 30 days, the person, who filed the case, reserves the right to proceed with the divorce. He/she gets this right to proceed without the intervention of the other spouse.

FAQ Relating to Do Divorce Papers Expire?

What are the 5 stages of divorce?

The five stages of divorce are as follows:

1.    Denial

2.    Anger

3.    Bargaining

4.    Depression

5.    Acceptance

What can you not do during a divorce?

You cannot marry another person until the divorce is complete. The completion happens only when the judge signs the divorce documents.

What is the most difficult stage of divorce?

When the divorce does not happen with mutual consent, the separation period is the most difficult stage to handle.

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At times, one of the spouses will love and care for the other very much. But, because the other person needs a divorce, he/she will sign the papers.

In this situation, the person with real love for the other person will be the sufferer.

How long does a divorce process take?

It takes around a year for the divorce process to complete. However, this period differs based on different factors.

Key Takeaways:

      Divorce papers do not expire but the summons associated with them expire

  •      There is no validity period for notarized divorce papers
  •      One cannot get married until the divorce papers are signed by the judge
  •      The period taken by judges to sign divorce papers differs based on different factors

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