Divorce is a stressful time, and it's only made worse if you don't prepare properly. There are several steps you should take after being served with divorce papers, both to protect yourself and make the process as smooth as possible.
Choose Legal Counsel
While getting an attorney may make the process feel all too real, it is important that you have experienced legal representation on your side. If finances are an issue, you can take care of as much of the divorce as possible yourself, and hire an attorney to take care of specific items. Whatever your decision, do not put it off as it is important that you are prepared for the next steps.
Pay Attention to Deadlines
Be sure to read your divorce papers carefully, as you have a set date by which you must respond. This is not the time to contact your spouse, instead, it is the time to thoroughly digest the information and reach out to friends and family for support. Go over your papers with your attorney to make sure you fully understand them and know when you must respond.
Inspect Your Finances
Consider doing away with joint accounts, and make sure that all of your personal accounts are in good order. This is not the time for spite, for example, if you have the ability to freeze your spouse out of any financial support. Doing this can just make the rest of the divorce proceedings a lot more painful. Be careful of your spending, as you should have money aside for lawyers and to deal with the uncertainty of the future.
Consider Your Children
Don't react to receiving divorce papers by putting down your spouse in front of the kids, or fighting in front of them. Keep your children informed and always maintain a respectful atmosphere to keep problems down the road to a minimum.