6 Things to Do After Being Served Divorce Papers

6 Most Important Tips After You Have Been Served Divorce Papers

What to do when served divorce papers

1. See a local divorce attorney immediately! 

If your spouse has taken the steps to hire an attorney and serve you with divorce papers, they are serious and you need to make sure that you understand your rights and obligations under the law.   

In Missouri, you must file a verified answer to the petition for dissolution of marriage within 30 days after service. 

The verified answer must admit or deny each specific allegation and include all information specifically required by 452.310.5 RSMo. 

If you fail or refuse to file a thorough and verified answer in a timely manner, you are in default and your rights may be forfeited. 

Therefore, it is best to retain an attorney who will protect you and your family.

2. Remain calm.

3. If you have children, do not try to keep them from your spouse. 

Judges do not look favorably on this and may hold it against you when making a final custody determination.  

If there is has been abuse or violence, please consult with your lawyer about obtaining an immediate order of protection. 

Without an order of protection or a court order to the contrary, you will not have the legal right to prevent your spouse from seeing the children.

4. Do not involve the children in your conflict. 

Judges do not look favorably on this either.  

It’s just not healthy for children to be involved in such adult disputes or to feel as though they must choose between their parents. 

All discussions about the divorce should be between you and your spouse, outside the hearing and presence of the children.   

Moreover, it is never appropriate for you to make negative comments about your spouse in the presence of the children.

 5.   Do not do anything that could later hurt your case.  

  •  Avoid domestic disputes.  Never put yourself in a position where the police are called because of your actions.  If you cannot control your temper, walk away before it gets that far.
  •  Stay out of trouble.   You never want to be charged with a crime.  It doesn’t matter whether you are guilty of the crime, the appearance of impropriety may hurt your case.
  •  Abstain from drugs and alcohol.  Judges do not look favorably on substance abuse, especially when kids are involved.  Intoxication tends to fuel emotions, impairs judgment and often leads to serious mistakes.
  •  Do not post anything on the internet, including Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, personal web pages, blogs, ect., that could negatively impact your case, including comments with inappropriate language and pictures of you drinking, drunk, partying or anything that your grandmother would not approve of.
  •  Do not get involved with someone else romantically.  The judge may frown upon any new relationship while you are still married, even though your divorce is pending.  This may hurt your chances of getting custody of the children, especially if you are living with your new romantic partner.

 6. Be civil and put your children’s needs first.

Divorce and custody proceedings can be very expensive.

Anything you can agree on will save you time, money and frustration.

If you agitate your spouse, he/she may become unreasonable just to spite you, which will end up costing you money.

Being civil may help you get what you want and get it faster.

Unfortunately, parents often make decisions based upon selfish motivations and not what is in the best interests of their children.

Usually, those selfish decisions are exposed in court and turn against you in the eyes of the judge.

So do what is in the best interests of the children…