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I Was Just Served with Divorce Papers. What Do I Do?

You may have seen it coming, or you may have not. There is no easy way to hear your spouse say: "I want a divorce." The next step matters: financially, mentally, and for the children. Taking control of your future can be achieved with the help of an experienced divorce attorney. A lawyer can help you explore your options as well as answer your questions. Moreover, she can assure you that you will be okay.

The 5 Things to Do If Your Spouse Is Asking for a Divorce

  1. Listen carefully and keep a calm disposition.

When your spouse announces that he or she wants to divorce you, you may feel like you've been slapped in the face, and it can be difficult to respond rationally. There may be a million questions on your mind, and you deserve answers. The most important thing for now is to figure out what your next steps will be. Do they really want a divorce, or are they open to saving the marriage? Do you know if your spouse has sought legal advice? Is there already a divorce in progress?

While it may be difficult to do, trying to stay calm during this conversation will help you get, at least some, of the information that you need.

  1. Don't make decisions too quickly.

Your spouse may want to move forward with the divorce proceedings as soon as they inform you of their divorce intentions. As for you, you're still confused and dazed in the wreckage of the life you intended. You should avoid making any agreements you will regret in the future.

Take the time you need to think about your divorce and what you want. Your spouse has had time to think about it; you deserve it as well. 

  1. Make sure you have (the right) support. The importance of it cannot be overstated.

When your spouse unexpectedly asks for a divorce, you may look for comfort and support on social media. Keep in mind that venting your feelings on social media can backfire. Although a post can be deleted, a screenshot cannot. So, if you feel the need to vent or post on social media, just be mindful of what you post so that your words in a time of hurt and/or anger don’t come back to haunt you down the road in your divorce.  Trust me, I’ve seen angry social media posts be used to raise questions about a parent’s fitness. 

Divorce is an emotionally draining process. Practice self-care and seek support to keep yourself mentally strong. Additionally, you may benefit from receiving help from a few trusted (and discreet) family members or friends, seeing a therapist, or joining a support group.

  1. Educate yourself and gather information.

It's easy to drag your feet, bury your head in the sand, and pretend a divorce won't happen when you don't want one. That's the worst thing you can do, to be honest. If your spouse is determined, it's best to be on the train rather than under it, as it will depart from the station with or without you. 

Use the time you've been granted (you did request it, after all) to learn as much as you can about your options and the divorce process, including financial facts. It will facilitate a more seamless divorce procedure and help you deal with your divorce on an emotionally healthier level.

  1. Seek Legal Guidance from a Skilled Divorce Lawyer.

After reading the last part, you may be wondering what details you should get or how to find out more about your alternatives. Meeting with a divorce attorney may seem like an admission that your marriage has failed if you don't want a divorce. You are actually just assuming responsibility for your future.

You have a short window of time to respond after receiving your spouse's divorce Complaint. The date you received the Complaint is an important date to remember and share with your attorney. You have more time if your spouse hasn't filed for divorce yet, but you should still get in touch with a family law lawyer as soon as possible.

Although going through a divorce can be intimidating, an experienced divorce lawyer can give you the guidance and support you need. The lawyer you choose can assist you in considering your options, clarify your rights, and respond to any concerns you may have regarding the procedure. 

Since these situations may be stressful for my clients, I strive to provide them with the best service and guidance possible. If you are reading this and have questions about divorce, don't go it alone. Call my office to schedule a free 20-minute call with me to discuss your divorce case.

The contents of this blog entry are provided for informational purposes only.  You should consult with an attorney to determine how the law applies to the facts of your particular case.  Reading this blog entry does not create an attorney-client relationship with Kelly McGriff.


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