Getting served with divorce papers can come as an unwelcome surprise. This is especially hard when you were not told ahead about this. Although you may panic and feel angry, you must try to keep yourself calm. You must take some steps to protect yourself and your rights. A Houston family attorney can guide you through these steps. Here’s what you should do after being served with divorce papers:
No matter how frustrating it may be surprised with divorce papers, you should call a family law or divorce attorney right away. Because divorce papers are time-sensitive, you need to respond to them on time. Otherwise, they could have negative effects on your rights.
Perform an Inventory of Marital Assets and Properties
In Texas, you have the right to get an equitable share of assets and properties acquired or accumulated during your marriage. Create a list of vehicles, real estate, personal belongings, antiques, artwork, and furniture. Make sure you include financial assets like money in bank accounts, business shares, investments, and retirement benefits.
Collect Essential Documents
Get copies of your marriage license, Social Security cards, birth certificates of all members of the family, and photo identification. Create a file that contains previous tax returns, property titles, recent bank account statements, credits, and loans.
Open Accounts in Your Name
As your marriage is ending, you need to open up new bank accounts in your name and start making regular deposits. Also, you can take out credit cards or small loans to establish your credit. This way, you can easily rebuild your life after the divorce.
Think About Your Priorities in the Divorce Settlement
Ponder upon what you want in the divorce settlement and what you can negotiate. For instance, consider if you want or can afford to keep the family home or just sell it off and divide the proceeds. If you and your spouse have children, think about the kind of parenting time arrangements you want to have. Also, consider your rights in terms of child and spousal support. If you are not sure about your options and decisions, you can always consult with your attorney. Your divorce or family lawyer will make sure your interests and your children’s interests are protected.
Divorce, especially when you did not see it coming, can be frustrating. However, there is always a good attorney to help you through the legal processes involved. You do not have to handle it all alone. A dedicated attorney will protect your rights and guide you every step of the way.