Served With Divorce Papers?  A Three Day Action Plan



Holy ##$@!!! – My Spouse Wants Everything!


Divorce petitions always ask for everything but the kitchen sink. The legal rule is: if you don’t ask for it in the petition, you cannot get it later. So don’t worry, petitions ALWAYS ask for everything.The Divorce Petition says I have to pay for his or her attorney fees! Again, this is standard. It doesn’t mean your spouse will get this.


Do I need to hire a divorce attorney the minute I get served?


No. You have 20 days. That is plenty of time to think about the divorce situation, and shop for the attorney you like and can afford. Divorce petitions can be answered on day 19 or day 20. But the most important thing – don’t ignore the divorce petition.


Twenty one days have gone by. Can I still answer the divorce petition?


Yes. But you need to answer the petition immediately. In general, the court takes at least 7 more days to enter a default against you. If your answer shows up in that time, a default will not be entered. But remember, you cannot count on this extra time.


Can I hire an attorney to only help me with my answer to the petition?


Yes. Ayo and Iken can provide you with a one-time service. This may lower costs for your divorce.


What to Do The Day You Were Served With Divorce Papers


  • Don’t panic about the divorce – best decisions are made with a cool head
  • Sit down, relax, and read the divorce papers several times.
  • Don’t call your spouse in anger – no contact is best for the moment.
  • Read this entire website – knowledge about the divorce process always helps take the fear away.
  • When you finish the above steps, take a short break and then read all of the materials again until you thoroughly understand what is ahead.
  • If you have children, do not draw them into the marital conflict. This is best for your children and will put you in the strongest position when your case goes to court.
  • You have 20 days from the date on the summons to send a required answer to the divorce papers. No more than 20! So don’t go into hibernation mode.
  • If possible, take off your job tomorrow and devote some thought and planning time to the situation.
  • Talk with friends and family about the divorce. If it was a secret, it is about to be “out of the bag.” You need the support of friends and family at this time.


The Day After You Were Served With Divorce Papers


  • You must decide if you will represent yourself for your divorce case or hire an attorney.
  • If you want an attorney, make your telephone calls. Try to hire someone that commonly handles divorces.
  • If you are a do-it-yourself person, continue reading all you can for the next 7 days. You have almost two weeks to act and you must become well informed.
  • Review the location and amount of all your assets. If possible, remove money from accounts and put it in a place of security. Do not deprive your spouse of necessary funds to live on. That would backfire on you.
  • Review your credit cards and any other sources of credit. If possible, cancel cards that are joint accounts or remove your spouse’s name from the card.
  • Speed is your best tool – be thorough and act today.
  • Go into conservation mode and build a rainy day fund. You may soon need it.
  • Begin to collect all records of assets, amounts owed, property, deeds, and family business records. If you are in the marital home, keep the records in a more secure place, like with a trusted friend.
  • Call the IRS to find out how to request copies of the last 5 years of tax returns – if you don’t already have them. You can either get exact copies of your tax return or get something called a transcript. Either version will do for the divorce case.


Your Other Steps After Being Served With Divorce Papers


  • Continue your education on divorce issues. This is one of the biggest and most important projects of your life right now. Read books and attend seminars. Become an expert.
  • Make a financial plan or a household budget for the next 12 months. Don’t spend unnecessary money.
  • Get a notebook and a holder for paperwork. Set up a central collection point for all the information you gather during your divorce. Keep a detailed diary and jot down anything you learn from your educational efforts.
  • Don’t fall into despair. All stressful events eventually pass. Yes, getting a divorce petition is very stressful. And you may feel your life is coming apart. But the vast majority survive their divorce, begin new lives, and eventually regain happiness and satisfaction.
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