If you are served divorce papers, it can be a stressful and emotional time, but don't let that cloud your judgment. There are certain things you need to do next in order to get through the divorce file proceedings. Here are some things to do after you get served with divorce papers.
Get an Attorney
The first thing you should do when you are served divorce papers is get a divorce attorney. Even if you believe you will have an uncontested divorce with minimal issues between you and your spouse, the attorney can help respond to the divorce petition and look through the details of what your spouse has filed. The attorney will also deal with the courts so you don't have to. Keep in mind that you can have an attorney even if your spouse doesn't. If the divorce leads to disagreements over child custody or property ownership, you will be glad you already have an attorney on your side. (Click here for more info on divorce attorneys.)
Compile Your Paperwork
When responding to divorce papers, you will need to input information about your income, owned assets, and other information. Your spouse likely started this process, but you also need to enter your own information. If you are employed, gather your pay stubs and tax returns. If you are planning on leaving the home immediately, at least get your personal records together. Get copies of any paperwork that belongs to you and your spouse so you can give it to your lawyer. Start making a list of all owned property, including what you had ownership of before getting married and what you bought together.
Figure Out Living Arrangements
You might feel more comfortable moving out as soon as you receive the divorce papers if your spouse has not moved out already. If you and your spouse jointly own the home you are living in, you both have equal rights to it, so decide right away who will live in it temporarily. If you decide that you will move out until the courts decide who can keep the house, choose a place nearby so it is easy to meet up with your lawyer and make it to court. Also ensure that the new apartment or house is large enough to accommodate your children who might be visiting you. Continue spending time with them throughout the divorce process and be there to support them as much as possible.
Try to Settle Out of Court
When you file your own paperwork, have your lawyer contact your spouse or your spouse's lawyer and attempt to settle the divorce outside of court. This will save both of you a lot of stress, time, and money. Try to split your property down the middle, including assets, real estate, and other property you own together. Compromise is the trick to having an uncontested divorce.