Whether being served with a petition for divorce was a complete surprise to you, or you knew it was coming, it’s not always easy to face. You might sit down for a moment, wondering what to do next and what steps will get you headed in a healthy direction. While taking a moment to compose yourself is a great first step, the following are some other things you should do after receiving divorce papers.
Read the Papers Thoroughly
A petition for divorce typically outlines the reasons for the divorce. It will also outline everything your spouse is asking for. If children are involved, he or she might ask for full custody. If you were employed full time and your spouse counted on your income, he or she might be asking for alimony.
Your petition for divorce should also outline some other important details. This includes the name of the court where your spouse filed the action. It should also include a deadline that you have to provide a response. If your spouse is working with an attorney, that should also be listed in the papers.
Provide Your Response
With the assistance of your attorney, start to draft your response to the petition. If you feel the grounds for divorce that your spouse stated in the petition are wrong, go ahead and correct it in your response. If you feel you deserve full custody, or even partial custody, outline that in your response. In most cases, you’ll need to respond to each point in the petition, but it’s especially important to respond to those you feel are incorrect.
To get a divorce, there are some documents you’ll need to collect. This could include birth certificates, your marriage certificate, and other identifying documents. You should also gather financial statements such as bank statements, tax returns, credit card bills, and more.
Protect Your Financial Future
You should speak with your lawyer about how you can protect your financial future. It’s illegal to hide financial assets during divorce, so you should be careful how you go about protecting yourself. In some states, all assets will be frozen until the divorce is final. In others, you’ll both be given half of everything in joint accounts. If you have a job with a direct deposit that goes into an account your spouse has access to, it’s time to open a new account.
Contact a Lawyer
Being served a petition for divorce might be a hard pill to swallow, and you might not know what to do next. Contact a lawyer, like a family lawyer today to get some of those answers and to get assistance in moving forward.