Thinking about divorce is one thing, but getting served with divorce papers can still be quite startling. It is now that it finally sinks in that divorce is inevitable. Regardless of how the divorce papers were served, there are some important steps to take.
Stay calm and gather essential documents
Your estranged spouse took the initiative and essentially beats you to the punch by meeting with an attorney and pursuing a divorce. Now, you must respond and protect yourself. Here are some crucial steps to take after being served:
- Take a minute: Let the news set in, take a walk around the block to clear your head or do something that will calm your nerves. Do not attempt to contact your spouse.
- Carefully read the divorce papers: The documents will cover many subjects, including division of assets, child custody, child support and spousal support. Do not be surprised by the significant amount of personal information included in the papers. Also, take note of the deadlines within the documents.
- Meet with an attorney: Performing personal research and getting referrals from friends, acquaintances and professional colleagues is a good idea. Schedule initial consultations to discuss the divorce and possible strategies. Many often get the best results using an experienced, board-certified family law expert attorney who practices here in Texas.
- Gather all relevant financial documents: Do this before the initial consultation so the attorney can review all available information. The list should include tax returns and mortgage statements along with records on your bank, money market and retirement accounts. Include documents on joint and individual performances.
The right attorney can make a difference
Your estranged spouse may have taken the first step by serving, but there is still time to build a strong case. Working with an experienced, board-certified family law expert attorney can help you effectively defend your parental rights and better ensure a fair and equitable division of your assets.