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My Spouse Filed for Divorce: What Should I Do Next?

Professional-looking woman holding legal paperwork.
Posted on March 18, 2024 by Desiree Good

Don’t Panic

Divorce often feels frightening and overwhelming, especially at the beginning if it came as a surprise. Even if you do not oppose the divorce and were expecting the paperwork, reading a divorce petition for the first time can invoke strong feelings and emotions. Take a deep breath. This is the time to take really good care of yourself and focus on taking the next, manageable step in front of you.

Gather Your Financial Documents and Other Important Papers

When you know you are getting divorced, one of the first things you can do to help manage stress and anxiety is to get organized. One way to do that is to identify and prepare a list of the financial accounts and other assets and debts of which you are aware. This does not have to be anything complicated or fancy. It can be a handwritten note, or a simple bullet pointed Word document. That list will then guide you as you go about gathering information about each item and asset to ensure they are included and addressed in your divorce.

For example, you should work to gather your most recent account statements and balances, your tax and income information, and copies of any car or house titles and insurance policies. This information will be useful if you choose to work with an attorney.  It will also give you a place to start understanding your assets and debts when it comes time for settlement negotiations with your spouse down the road. If you do not have access to the financial information or are unsure of what assets and debts you have, that is okay! You can request this information from your spouse during the divorce process and/or directly from any financial institutions. However, the more information you have available to you in the beginning, the better prepared you will be for the case yet to come.

Identify Your Support Team

Even under the best of circumstances, the divorce process can be challenging. Having a dependable and caring support team can make all the difference. Your support team may include trusted friends, adult family members, a therapist, and an experienced family law attorney. People often feel isolated, abandoned, and lost during this process and it is very important to protect your mental health, while also attending to your financial health.

Keep in mind your spouse’s attorney cannot represent both you and your spouse. You should consult with an attorney to understand the divorce process, paperwork, your legal rights, court-related deadlines, and your options going forward. An attorney can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and can steer you through the process. You do not and should not have to go it alone.

If you would like support with your divorce, the Family Law Practice Group at Lasher is here to help.