Did Your Spouse File for Divorce? Do These 4 Things
Have you been caught off guard by your spouse officially filing for divorce and serving you the divorce papers, and now you don't quite know what to do? This can be a very stressful time for you, but it's important to react correctly. Here are some things that you can do as your next steps.
Read the Papers Carefully and Respond
The first thing that you should do is actually sit down and read the divorce papers. Make sure that you read them carefully and in their entirety so that you completely understand everything that they contain. There are going to be deadlines listed in the divorce papers for when you need to respond. Not responding in time could result in you defaulting on the divorce, which will result in your spouse getting everything that they want out of the divorce process.
What many people wrongly assume is that they can delay the divorce process, so they are so emotional that they do not want to read what the paperwork contains. Know that the divorce will go on with or without you, and it is in your best interest to be part of the process.
Hire a Divorce Lawyer
It's always a good idea to reach out to a divorce lawyer to help you out with this legal situation. Going through a divorce without a lawyer can be very problematic in some situations, especially when you have a pending custody battle. You are going to need all the help you can get to achieve the results you want. Having kids involved often motivates spouses to treat the divorce differently because there is much more on the line than property.
Attend the Court Hearing
Your divorce papers will state the pending date for your hearing in front of a judge, which is when they will ask if you've come to an agreement with your spouse about all issues regarding your divorce. If not, then you'll be instructed to go through mediation to work out these issues and avoid a potential trial. This is when you work with a neutral mediator that helps solve these issues regarding your divorce that you cannot agree on.
Prepare for the Trial
If mediation does not go well and there are any issues unresolved, it will need to be settled in a trial. This takes the power away from you, since you need to present your case and hope that a judge or jury sides with you so that you can get what you want.