When It's Over,
It's time to move on
If You Are Served With a Divorce Complaint
Receiving divorce papers can be unsettling even when you are expecting them. Therefore, it is essential to take these six steps to avoid an unfavorable outcome.
1. Give Yourself Space
Whether you and your spouse have a tense or amicable relationship, avoid communication and take time to address your feelings, and accept the dissolution of your marriage. Changes to your circumstances can be overwhelming, whether or not you welcome them, and giving yourself space to process your feelings will help you move forward. At first, this may seem like a step that you can “skip” if you don’t feel ready to embrace it. However, as an experienced divorce lawyer – including those who practice at Robinson & Hadeed – can confirm, giving yourself some space will help to prevent you from taking actions that could unintentionally compromise the strength of your divorce case down the road.
2. Read Through The Papers Carefully
As soon as you are ready, set aside time to read through the divorce papers. A clear understanding of everything in the divorce complaint will help you:
- Prepare an appropriate response
- Know when your reply is due
- Formulate a counterclaim
- Understand your spouse’s position
3. Note Response Deadlines
Make sure that you keep track of all deadlines for responding to the divorce complaint. If you miss the filing deadline, the court may grant all of your spouse’s requests by default.
4. Retain an Attorney
Due to what is at stake in a divorce case, it is almost certainly in your best interest to hire an attorney. A knowledgeable divorce attorney can help your plan your response and counterclaim and foresee any complications that might prevent you from obtaining the outcome you seek. It is possible to hire a divorce attorney to represent your interests during any stage or throughout the divorce process.
5. Address Your Finances
If you and your spouse have a joint bank account, do not attempt to close or liquidate it during your divorce. The courts may view this as an aggressive tactic that will not help your claims. Instead, plan to open a new account as soon as possible and start depositing your income into it to ensure that it remains separate from your marital assets. Also, begin preparing lists of your pre-marriage assets and those you acquired during your marriage to help with your negotiations.
6. Consider Your Children
Whether you hope to retain sole custody or plan to co-parent after your divorce, begin drafting a parenting plan that reflects your children’s best interests. Having an idea of what you want their future situation to look like will help your attorney understand how to move forward on their behalf.