You Just Received Divorce Papers, Now What?

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You have just been served divorce papers. It is not entirely a surprise, as you and your spouse have been separated for many months. Yet, you had not discussed divorce and now wonder what the papers mean. Will you have to pay for the divorce? Will you have to give up half of your assets? What about the children, what will the custody situation look like? These are questions that are likely running through your head, as you look over the divorce papers. The first step to handle the situation is to hire your own divorce attorney.

Why do you need your own lawyer?

The divorce papers probably mean that your spouse has already hired their own lawyer. Why do you need one too? Your spouse?s attorney is hired to protect their interests. They are not going to look out for you and your interests. Their primary goal and job is to get your ex spouse what they deserve. This may not always be what is fair or expected. It is best to hire your own lawyer in the event that any disputes come up during the divorce proceedings.

What is legally yours following the divorce?

It can be difficult to remember everything that you and your spouse own together. However, this is the time to list the items that you want out of the divorce. It is likely that your ex spouse has already listed the items they would like to keep following the divorce. It is best to ignore this list at least initially and create a list of the items that are most important to you. Your lawyer and your spouse?s lawyer will compare lists and the negotiations will begin.

How can you come to an agreement?

During the initial negotiations, it may seem like you will never come to an agreement. To make negotiations easier, it is best to pick a couple top things that you are absolutely important to you. The middle part of the list should be items that you desire, but do not necessarily have. These are the items that you will use for negotiations. Your hired law firm will work hard to get the items on your lists that are most important to you.

What if an agreement cannot be made?

Sometimes, both spouses share the same desires. This is usually the possession of the house, vehicle, or vacation rentals. If an agreement cannot be made on these types of belongings, the judge will usually force a sale. This means that the asset will be sold and whatever profits are made will be split between each spouse. This is common in divorce law, so it is usually best to decide on who gets what, before a divorce is ever discussed. Remember that 41% of first marriages, 60% of second marriages, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce. Go into your new marriage as if you will remain married forever, but prepare as if you will not.

What if children are involved?

More than 1 million children are involved in divorce proceedings every year. Divorces that involve children are especially complex and emotional. You might even require specialized legal services, such as a defense lawyer when child custody rights are questioned. The best solution is usually to agree on completely equal split custody. However, this is not always possible and negotiations need to be made.

In the United States, there are about 876,000 divorces each year. That means there is a new divorce happening every 36 seconds. Divorces can be simple and quick, especially when there are very few assets involved. Other divorce cases can be very complex, with disagreements about property ownership and child custody rights. In both cases, it is usually best to hire your own divorce lawyer to protect your rights.

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