I’ve Been Served With Divorce Papers…Now What?
You may have been expecting them for a while, or they may come as a complete surprise; either way, when those divorce papers are in your hand for the very first time, it can feel terrifying.
There’s certainly a lot to think about when served with divorce papers. You’ll need to consider how to respond to accusations made in the lawsuit, and decide whether you’ll need an Austin Divorce Lawyer. You could be worrying about finances or about how the divorce will impact your kids, never mind trying to handle the emotional aspect of separation.
At Newberry Law P.L.L.C, we’re highly experienced in divorce cases and can help to guide you through all the difficulties of divorce from the very moment that you’re served with those papers. Here are the next steps to help you get through the early stages of divorce.
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1. Take a look at your divorce papers for the due date of response on the lawsuit.
In Texas state courts, you must respond to the lawsuit by the Monday following the next 20 days. The clock starts ticking as soon as you’re served the lawsuit – that is when it first arrives in your hands, not the date it was first filed.
If you don’t file a response within the allotted time frame, the court is likely to issue a default judgment in favor of the other party. The most common response to a divorce lawsuit is an ‘answer’, in which you either agree or disagree with the filed statements and proposals in the papers.
2. Find legal representation
Although you can handle divorce proceedings without any legal support, it is highly recommended, particularly when there is property to be divided and children to take into account. An Austin divorce lawyer will help you to get the fairest results from the divorce, and they will dramatically reduce the stress and worry on your shoulders by taking control of the legal aspects.
If you do decide that an Austin family lawyer is for you, it’s essential that you find legal representation quickly in order that your attorney has plenty of time to prepare your response before the time limit.
Austin Divorce Lawyer, Joe Newberry is a Board Certified Family Lawyer in Austin, Texas. This is a qualification that less than one percent of Texas family law attorneys hold.
3. Build an emotional support network
The first read of divorce papers can be incredibly emotional and it’s not uncommon to feel hurt and angry, so you’ll need support around you to help you vent. It may be tempting to reach out to your spouse, but in our experience this rarely helps the situation and can lead to further conflict. Instead, turn to impartial friends and members of your family for emotional support. It can also be very beneficial to look for counselors or therapists who will help you find ways to deal with your emotions in a healthy manner.
4. Don’t air your dirty laundry in public
Social media posts can be used against you in the divorce proceedings, so don’t post details of the case or accusations about your spouse on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other public platform.
5. Keep your children out of the conflict
It’s not unusual for kids to feel responsible for their parents’ separation, and it can be tough for them to get to grips with the idea of their parents no longer being together. Try to make it easier on them at every opportunity – don’t unload your grief on them, and minimize exposing them to conflict between you and your spouse.
Counseling can be incredibly beneficial for children, but respect their privacy and don’t insist on sitting in on sessions or asking what they discussed afterwards; it should be a safe space where they can share their worries freely, without having to worry about taking mom or dad’s side.
6. Tighten the purse strings
A divorce more or less results in running two households on the same amount of money you used to run one. You need to be prepared for having less disposable income and every saving you can make now will help you in future. It’s not the time to splurge on big purchases; wait until the case has been settled and you know what your new financial situation looks like.
7. Don’t submit to family violence
If violence has been an issue for the family in the past, it could worsen when emotions are running high throughout the divorce. Avoid scenarios that you think could end in violence, and if any violence does occur don’t let it pass by – call 911 and report it.
Let us help you
Being served with divorce papers can feel like the end of the world, but you can get through it, particularly when you have a reliable Austin divorce attorney on hand.
As an Austin law firm which specializes in family law, we’re highly experienced in divorce cases and now how to handle our cases with the utmost care, tact and professional knowledge. If you have any questions about the divorce process or how to proceed after being served papers, don’t hesitate to get in touch.