Eight Steps to Take After You’ve Been Served Divorce Papers

An illustration of divorce papers.

Divorce is always difficult, but it may be the best thing for both parties involved. There are many factors to consider when deciding to divorce, such as children, finances, and emotional well-being. It is important to consult with a lawyer to ensure that all of your rights are protected during the divorce process.

If you need a family law lawyer or need legal assistance with your divorce proceedings, reach out to Nanda & Associate Lawyers.

The day you are served divorce papers is likely to be one of your life’s most emotionally charged days. You may experience a multitude of emotions, including but not limited to anger, sadness, shock, and relief. It is crucial to keep in mind that you are not alone in your struggle. Millions of people go through divorce every year.


No one ever thinks that their marriage will end in divorce. But if you find yourself in that situation, it’s critical to know the next steps. This guide will walk you through the steps to take after you’ve been served divorce papers, so you can protect your rights and ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Read Papers Carefully

While it may be tempting to gloss over the details of your divorce papers, it’s important to take the time to read them carefully. This legal document will determine the terms of your divorce, including how property will be divided, whether you will have custody of your children, and how much spousal support you will receive. Pay close attention to the deadlines listed in the papers, as missing one could have serious consequences.

woman working with documents in an officeFigure Out if You and Your Spouse Can Reach an Agreement

Although it’s possible to go through the divorce process without hiring a lawyer, it’s not advisable. The second step is to find out if you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce. Filing for an uncontested divorce will be quicker and cheaper.

If you cannot reach an agreement, you will need to file for a contested divorce. This means that you and your spouse will have to go through the court process, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Speak with a LawYer

If you have not already done so, now is the time to seek out the advice of a qualified divorce lawyer. This person will be your advocate throughout the process, ensuring your rights are protected. Even if you and your spouse are amicable and agree on most things, having a lawyer can save you many headaches.

A couple of signing documentsHire a Divorce Lawyer

If you file for a contested divorce, you will need to hire a divorce or family lawyer. A divorce or family lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. Make sure to choose a lawyer experienced in handling contested divorces, so you can get the best results possible.

File a Response

Once you have been served divorce papers, you need to file a response with the court within a certain time frame. This is typically 20 days, but it varies from state to state. If you do not file a response within this period, it will be assumed that you agree with everything in the divorce paperwork.

Gather Financial Documents

You will need to provide the court with financial documents such as bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs. This is so the court can determine things like child support and alimony payments. You can determine which documents you need by contacting a local family law lawyer.

Attend Hearings

There may be several hearings throughout the divorce process. These are typically mandatory, so you must attend all of them. At these hearings, decisions will be made about property division and custody arrangements.

The process of these hearings is quite formal, and it’s imperative to remember that everything you say can and will be used against you, so be very careful about what you say.

It is also essential to note that if you do not attend these hearings, the decisions will likely not be in your favour. While you may be tempted not to show up, it’s crucial that you at least attempt to attend and participate in the process.

These hearings can include status conferences, settlement conferences, pretrial conferences, and trials. Status conferences are typically very short, so they usually only require the lawyers to be there. Settlement conferences are classified as negotiations between both parties and their legal counsel to settle some of the disputed areas. A judge will not be present at these meetings.

Pretrial conferences are typically required once all evidence has been gathered by both sides and is used to discuss any outstanding issues and possible solutions. Lastly, a divorce trial will happen if the divorce cannot be settled outside of court, and a judge will preside over the case and make all final decisions.

Finalize the Divorce

Once all of the above steps have been completed, a judge will finalize the divorce. Once this happens, you will be legally divorced and able to move on with your life. With a bit of knowledge and the help of a good lawyer, the divorce process doesn’t have to be too complicated.

During finalization, ensure that you have all of the required documents with you, such as:

  • The Final Judgment or Decree of Dissolution
  • A Certificate of Assumed Name (if changing your name)
  • A copy of the approved Parenting Plan (if applicable)
  • A financial affidavit
  • Your picture identification

Keep in mind that the divorce process can take several months to complete. It’s imperative to be patient and follow all steps correctly to avoid delays.

If you have been served divorce papers, taking some initial steps to protect yourself and your interests is important. These steps include contacting an experienced divorce lawyer, putting all joint assets in your name, and freezing any joint bank accounts. For more information on what to do after you have been served divorce papers, contact us today. We provide services of will lawyer, traumatic brain injury lawyer, caregiver applications, and more.

Disclaimer: This article is only intended for educational purposes and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for legal advice.





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