On a quiet night, while tucking the children into bed, you were served with divorce papers. It was a mild surprise since you and your spouse had not been getting along so well lately. However, the incident was startling, nonetheless.
The anger, frustration and confusion came to a head, and you wonder what you need to do. This is a new situation, and you need to take critical steps to protect yourself.
Remain calm, read the papers
Preparation and self-preservation are crucial. Your divorce will happen, and now you must take some careful and calculated steps toward resolution. Here are some of the things you need to do:
- Remain calm: This first step may be the most difficult, considering the circumstances. Take a walk or do an activity you enjoy in an attempt to clear your head. Do not contact your spouse who no longer wants to be part of this union. Your marriage is over.
- Thoroughly read the divorce papers: By doing this, you get a better idea as to what you need to do. Read the summons, which provides details such as your scheduled court appearance. Look for deadlines and abide by them. There will be a great amount of personal information included in the papers, too. By reading the papers, you better understand what you face.
- Find an attorney: An experienced legal ally will explain your responsibilities, guide you through the legal system, schedule court dates and advocate for you in matters such as child custody and asset division to get the divorce finalized as quickly as possible.
- Gather your essential documents: These will include tax returns, pay stubs, deeds for the house and cars as well as financial information related to bank, investment and retirement accounts. Such documents shed light on what you and your spouse own together and separately. These documents should be complete and accurate.
Clear thoughts are necessary for creating a plan and response. These steps can provide a solid foundation.
Steps to protect yourself
It can be a jarring experience to receive divorce papers. Now, you must take certain steps that will provide the necessary protection to get through the divorce process and direct you toward a new beginning.