Maybe you saw it coming. Maybe you didn’t. Either way, being informed that your spouse is seeking divorce can be heartbreaking, stressful and overwhelming. You might be confused and worried about the future. These emotions can make it difficult to figure out what to do next.
But once you know that divorce is on the table, you need to be proactive in order to protect your interests. This week on the blog, let’s look at some steps that you can immediately take to ensure that you’re positioning yourself for a successful divorce experience.
What should you do once you’re informed of divorce?
Once you’re served with divorce papers, you need to do a few things, including the following:
- Thoroughly read through the pleadings: These documents will contain important information. They will let you know in which court the case was filed, when you have to respond, and the demands made by your spouse, such as those pertaining to child custody, property division, and spousal support.
- Prepare a timely response: You’ll need to file a written response within the time specified in the petition. If you fail to do so, then you might be prevented from arguing over the legal issues that are important to you. This could leave you in a financial predicament post-divorce and with limited time with your child.
- Move to protect your assets: Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital assets will be divided in a fair, although not necessarily equal, fashion. While the ultimate determination won’t be made until your divorce is finalized, you might consider setting up individual financial accounts. you will want to make sure that you protect the assets and possibly also investigate if you suspect that assets have been hidden from you.
- Start gathering evidence: It’s never too early to start gathering evidence. This includes bank and investment statements, tax returns, W2s, email and text communications, photographs, social media posts, police reports, and witness statements.
- Ensure adequate communications: As you navigate your divorce, you’re going to need to be in communication with your attorney and ensure it is private.
- Avoid generating evidence that can be used against you: Although it’s important to gather as much evidence as you can to support your position in the divorce, you also want to make sure that you’re not making missteps that can be used against you. Refrain from posting on social media and consider holding off on romantic relationships. Be careful what you say to your friends and your child, and make sure that the time that you spend with your child is as meaningful as possible. Also, be careful of what you say to your spouse, especially since your words may be taken out of context.
Coping with the legalities of your situation
There’s a lot to deal with as you navigate your divorce. But don’t let the stress of your situation lead you to inaction. Instead, make sure that you have a plan to achieve the favorable outcome that you deserve. If you’d like to learn more about how to do that, then please consider discussing the circumstances of your case with an attorney you trust.