It goes without saying that going through the divorce process is stressful. Getting served with divorce pleadings can be scary – and if you weren't expecting them, it can be downright disorienting. However, it doesn't have to be that way, and this article will help you know what to do if you are served with divorce papers.
Consult with an attorney
If you are served with a Summons and Complaint seeking a divorce, the very first thing you should do is request a consultation with experienced family law attorney. Time matters, particularly early in the case, and you don't want to hurt your case by waiting too long. Therefore, it is important that you contact an attorney sooner rather than later, because the more time you give your South Carolina family law attorney, the more opportunity he has to advise you about your options and to help you protect your interests.
Begin gathering information
In a divorce, information is power. Understanding your family's finances is crucial, and for those who may not be intimately involved in financial matters, it is essential to begin gathering documents immediately. Make copies of pay stubs, bank statements, retirement account statements, credit card statements, income tax returns, and anything else that might be important later on. It's much easier to begin gathering these types of documents early on rather than wait until the case is in full swing. Your attorney will be able to provide a list of documents and information which will be necessary for the case. Use that list as a guide to organizing the documents you gather.
Don't get your children involved
Though it may be difficult, you should resist the urge to involve your children in the divorce. Do not vent your frustration to them, and do not make negative or disparaging remarks to them about your spouse. Do not allow them to read the papers you've been served, no matter how angry the allegations may make you when you read them. Divorce is already a difficult process for the whole family, and putting the children into the middle of things will only make it worse. Your job is to be there for emotional support for the kids, even when you may need support of your own. Ask your attorney or a trust family member for a referral to a therapist to offer the emotional support you may need during this time.
Don't do anything stupid
Sadly, the emotions involved in a divorce can lead otherwise nice people to behave badly. Lashing out at your spouse (via social media, verbally, physically, or otherwise) will not make you feel any better, and doing so could end up causing problems in your case down the road. Keep a level head when you are around your spouse, and for goodness sake do not post anything online or on any social media sites, as your words will likely come back to haunt you later.
The Stevens Firm, P.A. - Family Law Center has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over two decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. We are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact us at (864) 598-9172 to schedule an initial consultation.