Whether receiving your divorce papers came as a shock or it was a long-awaited delivery, you must act quickly. Your actions must be intentional and delivered carefully. Consider the following steps to take after receiving divorce papers.
Read Over the Document Thoroughly
The initial divorce papers will hold plenty of sensitive information that will guide your future steps. Information it will cover includes the court where the divorce papers were filed, a deadline for response, the attorney’s name (if applicable), and the grounds for divorce. If you have children together, it may outline the requests of your spouse concerning child support, child custody, and more.
Respond to Your Spouse
You must respond to your spouse by the deadline date listed on the divorce papers. If you do not respond within the allotted time, your spouse may receive everything he requested in the initial divorce papers. Many people hire an attorney to help through this process. If you do this, your attorney will send the divorce papers to your spouse. The papers will specifically address everything that your spouse included in his document.
Gather the Appropriate Documents
There are many documents needed during the divorce process such as your marriage certificate, birth certificate, social security card, bank statements, credit card statements, tax returns, and more. During a divorce, the judge will decide if and how much one spouse owes the other for a set amount of time. These financial statements will help him in this decision.
Hire a Family Law Attorney
Divorce – whether contested or not – can be a tricky process. A family law attorney can help make this process easier. Your attorney will look through the divorce papers to see any underlying messages, guide you in the direction that serves you best, and fight for you in court. It is especially important to retain an attorney if your spouse has done so, as this will provide equal ground.