Served With Divorce Papers? What You Should Do

There are few things can rattle your world quite like getting handed divorce papers if you didn't know that they were coming. At least if you knew they were coming, you probably had time to prepare and get some things in order. If you didn't know that your spouse was filing for divorce, though, there are some things that you should do after you've been served. Here's a look at a few things that you need to consider if you've just received divorce papers.

Find A Divorce Lawyer

The very first thing that you need to think about after receiving divorce papers is who you will have to represent you in court. You need to have a divorce lawyer to guide you through the process and help you formulate your legal response within the timeframe required by the court. You can't retain the same lawyer that your spouse is using, so you'll have to find someone who can represent your best interests along the way.

Read The Papers Closely

It's not going to be easy to read through those divorce papers, especially the first time. However, it's a necessary step. You have to know not only when your divorce hearing or settlement conference is scheduled to happen, but you also need to know the grounds that your spouse is claiming. If there are children in the marriage, you also need to know if your spouse is seeking full custody. These are key details that you can then discuss with your lawyer in terms of how you wish to proceed.

Secure Your Finances

If you have a joint bank account, you should prioritize protecting your personal finances. Open up a bank account in only your name and withdraw your share of the joint account to deposit it into your own account. Make sure that you change your direct deposit at work and any other funds that normally come in so that you don't risk losing money that's owed to you.

You should also update any of your investment accounts, retirement plans, and any other asset accounts or insurance policies. The key is to create the necessary legal separation to protect your financial interests. Cancel any credit cards that your spouse has access to and ask for new cards to be re-issued. 

Gather Information

Finally, once the urgent situation is addressed, it's time to gather the information that you need for your response to the papers. Your divorce lawyer will tell you what kind of information is necessary, including any evidence of adultery, pictures or documentation of abuse, or any other issues that should be addressed in court.

Talk with a divorce attorney service today to prepare for your divorce case.