For some people, being handed divorce papers can come as a big shock if there were no indicating factors showing the spouse was planning this course of action. If you have just been informed your spouse wishes to have a divorce, you will want to do your best to react responsibly and quickly so you are ensured you will have a better chances of being awarded money, assets, or acceptable custody arrangements after the paperwork is finalized. Here are some steps you should take immediately after receiving word your spouse is seeking a divorce.
Take A Few Days To Plan
Do not take any action for a day or so after receiving the paperwork. This will allow you time to cool down and come up with a calculated plan in how you wish to proceed. If you live with your spouse, remain civil but do not go into specifics regarding the divorce until after you have spoken to an attorney. You do not want any actions you take to be used against you later on. It is best to distance yourself from your spouse and take time to accept the prospect of the divorce becoming a reality.
Get Help On Your Side
After you come to terms with the fact you received papers, contact an attorney so you have legal representation. There will be a date listed on your paperwork indicating when you will need to response to the divorce papers, so it is important to have a lawyer before this time. If you do not wish to divorce, you may want to speak to your spouse about going to marriage counseling before starting the divorce procedure. You will still need to respond to the paperwork, so if your spouse agrees, let your attorney know so they can push-off the court date until you both are positive a divorce is imminent.
Secure Your Finances
You will need to make sure your finances are in order to pay for the divorce itself and to protect yourself as the proceedings are being conducted. Consider opening a new bank account and relocating money from any joint accounts into one you can utilize on your own. Do not leave your spouse without a means for financial stability as you are in the middle of the divorce, as this will look unfavorable to the judge. Instead, split money evenly until your attorney and the judge are able to appoint monetary award. Start cutting back on expenses, as there is an uncertainty with money distribution.