No matter how upsetting it may be to have your spouse tell you he or she wants a divorce, the best advice is for you to remain as calm as possible. Anything you say may haunt you later if your divorce becomes contentious and your spouse tries to use it against you. The first few days after you hear the news, consider doing the following.
- Keep your emotions in check. See a counselor, trusted advisor or pastor. Someone you feel comfortable with and to whom you can share your sorrow, anger, betrayal, or general feelings.
- Contact an experienced divorce attorney. It is highly likely your spouse has already contacted one. If so, their attorney might have recommended an attorney for you to consult who does collaborative divorce. That is a good sign; schedule a consultation with that attorney to determine if that is who you would like to represent you and your interests.
- If your spouse has served you with divorce papers, do not wait. Call an attorney immediately. You only have around 20 days to file a legal response or “answer.” A temporary hearing date could be set before your answer date. Before the first meeting with your attorney, it would be helpful to make a list of marital property (anything acquired during the marriage), property you believe is separate property (anything acquired before marriage or by gift or inheritance during the marriage), and information about the children’s schools and their activities. Take a notepad with you to the meeting to write down the important information that you will need to remember. There may be a list of things for you to do and documents for you to locate.
- Do not sign anything your spouse asks you to sign without your attorney reviewing the document first.
- Avoid posting on social media. Anything you post about how you feel, how awful your spouse is, how you are going to get even, or just personal information can later be used against you, particularly if you are involved in a dispute over child custody, property division, or any other issue that comes up during the divorce process.
- Consider collaborative divorce. This is a process where you and your attorney meet with your spouse and your spouse’s attorney and come to mutually agreeable solutions about how to separate without animosity. You decide yourselves how to deal with child custody, support, property division, and any other issue that needs to be resolved in order for the court to finalize the divorce.
For More Information About Divorce, Contact an Experienced Dallas Family Law Attorney.