I got served with divorce papers…Now What?
Divorce is a stressful time, especially if you aren’t prepared for it and can become worse if you don’t prepare properly. There are several steps you should take after being served with divorce papers, both to protect yourself and make the process as smooth as possible.
Seek out Legal Counsel
While getting an attorney may be scary and make you feel like the process is real, it is important that you have experienced legal representation on your side. If finances are an issue, you can take care of as much of the divorce as possible yourself and hire an attorney to take care of specific items. Whatever your decision, do not put it off as it is important that you are prepared for the next steps.
Pay Close Attention to Deadlines
Be sure to read your divorce papers carefully, as you have a set date by which you must respond to certain items. This is not the time to contact your spouse and take about the issues and splitting your belongings and assets, instead, it is the time to thoroughly digest the information and reach out to friends and family for support. Go over your papers with your attorney to make sure you fully understand them and know when you must respond.
Inspect Your Finances
This is not the time for spite, for example, do not freeze your spouse out of any financial support. Most divorce complaints are joined by a Status Quo order and/or Restraining Order for the preservation of Marital estate, which state that each party must keep paying martial expenses (For example: mortgage, health expenses, car payments, etc.) and not engage in extreme spending or selling of assets (for example: You can’t buy a house or sell your house) . Be careful of your spending, as you should have money aside for lawyers and to deal with the uncertainty of the future.
Consider Your Children
Don’t react to receiving divorce papers by putting down your spouse in front of the kids or fighting in front of them. Keep your children informed with age appropriate information and always maintain a respectful atmosphere to keep help them know you and your spouse are there for them during this difficult time.