Being served divorce papers is not something anyone wants to experience. Unfortunately, it happens to about 787,251 couples each year. If you’ve recently received divorce papers, hopefully you had an inkling your marriage was on the rocks. While getting divorce papers is never easy, it’s less painful if it’s not a complete shock.
No matter what your circumstances may be, getting divorced is a very emotional experience. Now is a time you need support. Luckily, our team is here to offer it.
5 Things to Do After Getting Your Divorce Papers
This is a difficult time, but you have to keep moving forward. The more intentional you are about checking the boxes, the faster your divorce will wrap up. With this in mind, here are a few things to do if you’ve recently received divorce papers:
1. Read them
First things first, you need to know what the documents contain. In general, they’ll hold a wealth of information you need, including the court that filed the action. The papers will also detail the allegations made by your spouse, and deadlines for you to file a response.
Finally, the papers will likely lay out the request made by the other party. These requests may include information about everything from child support to division of property. While these details hurt, it’s critical to understand what you’re dealing with earlier rather than later.
Next, you’ll need to file your response. In most states, you have 20 days to do this – starting from the day you received the papers. You don’t want to miss the deadline, though, so it’s smart to hire an attorney to help.
Filing a response through your attorney ensures you’re protecting your best interests, requesting the things you feel strongly about, and moving the proceedings forward. If you attempt to complete this step on your own, you may make accidental mistakes that could hold the process up.
3. Protect your mail and email
While everyone wants to believe their divorce will be amicable, that’s not always the case. With this in mind, take steps to protect yourself.
One such measure is forwarding your mail and changing all your online passwords. This helps you avoid interception by the other spouse and protects your privacy. You wouldn’t want your soon-to-be-ex to discover letters from your attorney, for example, or any other legal documents or messages containing strategic plans.
4. Make logical decisions
Again, this is an emotional, painful time, but you don’t want to dive ahead and make decisions at the peak of your emotional state. As much as possible, allow yourself to “cool off” before you file responses. The same goes for communicating with your spouse or doing anything that could affect your case. Your attorney is here to help you avoid pitfalls that could cost you down the road.
5. Know your rights
Being served with divorce papers is frightening and emotional. It’s a challenging experience for many people. This is a time to slow down, though, and to know your rights. Hiring a divorce attorney is the best way to get sound legal advice, and will keep you from making concessions you should not make.
MGM Law is Here to Represent You
If you’ve received divorce papers in the mail, or been served in person, we’re here to protect your rights. Contact our team today to learn more about our services and how we can help you navigate this uncertain time.