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What Should I Do if My Spouse Files for Divorce?

November 10, 2023

If your spouse files for divorce, you may feel upset, disappointed, and overwhelmed. Still, it’s important to avoid letting your emotions get the best of you and take action right away. The following steps can help you protect your rights and allows a qualified attorney to begin working on your divorce case.  For more information, contact our office today to speak with a DC-area family law attorney.

Hire an Attorney

As soon as your spouse files for divorce, you should hire a local divorce attorney. You’re not legally required to hire legal representation to get divorced. However, representing yourself immediately after divorce filing isn’t in your best interest and could create an unfavorable result for you. A lawyer can provide quality representation throughout your divorce. They’ll protect your interests and fight diligently to achieve a beneficial outcome. 

File a Response in Court

Once you receive notice of your impending divorce, you’ll need to file a response with the court. Be aware that you only have a limited amount of time to file your response, so you should not wait to retain an attorney. Filing your response to your spouse’s petition allows your divorce case to commence. How you proceed with your divorce depends on the type of divorce, including contested vs. uncontested. 

Gather Important Documents and Information

Documentation is key in divorce cases. Some of the most important matters in a divorce, from property and debt division to alimony, cannot be decided without evidence. After your spouse files for divorce, begin collecting all documents you think may serve a purpose in your divorce, including property and asset documents, tax documents, the divorce form itself, as well as any income documentation you may have.  If you’re unsure of what you’ll need, your divorce attorney can provide some guidance. They can also help you obtain any documentation you may be missing. 

Protect Your Assets

Assets play a crucial role in divorces. Depending on your state’s laws and the status of your assets, you should go over ways to protect your assets with your divorce attorney. In certain cases, assets that you think may be marital may actually be separate, meaning that you do not have to include them in the marital estate that will be divided. Such assets may include gift or any inheritances you received during the marriage.

Additionally, there are steps you should take to start to separate your finances. For example, if you and your spouse have a joint bank account, your lawyer might recommend setting up a separate bank account for yourself. Additionally, if your spouse is a beneficiary of any insurance policies, you may need to begin the process to change that. 

Be Mindful About Communication

Divorces are emotional. This is one of the reasons communications between spouses can turn sour and nasty. Be careful how you communicate with your spouse, even if you’re upset. Your spouse and their attorney can attempt to use your words against you, which could negatively affect your case. 

Call Us Today to Connect with a DMV Family Law Attorney

Filing for divorce in the DC Metro Area or responding to a divorce can be stressful—know that our team of legal professionals is here for you.

At Bourdon & Tortolero, PLLC, we provide solution-oriented divorce and family law representation to individuals throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Contact our office today online or by phone to schedule a consultation with an experienced family lawyer.

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