Overwhelmed after being served with a divorce application? It’s normal to feel a rollercoaster of emotions if your partner has served you with a divorce application. But keeping focused on the practical steps you need to take going forward can help you clear your mind and regain a sense of control over what’s happening. Here are 5 key “to do’s” that you should follow after being served with a divorce application. The actions you take now can have a big impact on your divorce case, so after you’ve processed your initial feelings of grief and shock, have a think about what comes next to address your legal situation in the best possible way.
1. Do nothing!
It’s okay to spend the initial days after being served with a divorce application to process your emotions, at least a little. This is a good time to seek support from family, friends and/or trained counsellors. But avoid trying to contact your ex at this time of heightened emotions, whether to lash out, plead or otherwise discuss the divorce. Keep in mind that you will only have a limited time to respond to a divorce application, but do allow yourself some initial time to deal with the shock and hurt.
2. Check the documents
The next step is to thoroughly read through the Application for Divorce and other documents that were served. You want to make sure all the information presented is true and correct (including basic information such as relevant dates, addresses, and details of children). If there are assertions in the divorce application with which you do not agree, you can file a Response to the Application for Divorce. A Response enables you to put to the court your own version of the facts.
3. Write down your due dates
Once you have been served with a divorce application, there is a precise and limited amount of time for you to respond. It is vital that you bear this deadline in mind and put the time to good use. If you wish to file a Response to Divorce, you will need to file it within 28 days of the application being served on you.
4. Decide how you want to approach the divorce
You have numerous options for dealing with working out parenting and property arrangements after divorce, if you haven’t already dealt with those. You may decide to have a law firm advise you and handle things for you or you can also decide to only utilise the “unbundled” services of a law firm for selected aspects, while undertaking much of the simple work yourself. Don’t forget to consider all of your alternative dispute resolution options other than litigation. These include mediation, arbitration and collaboration. If you elect to hire a family lawyer to help you, make sure you shop around to find someone experienced in the issues at stake for you (this article may help). Remember, a family lawyer will not only guide you through the divorce process but will also develop the best strategy for protecting your rights and interests.
5. Get a grip on your financial situation
Now is the time to really ensure you understand your financial position, and get the all-important picture of your needs going into the future. You may find the assistance of a financial advisor invaluable here.
Remember, your response to a divorce application is time-sensitive, so although it may be difficult to face dealing with your ex’s divorce application, take action quickly rather than having to scramble to deal with a looming ‘forgotten’ deadline. For assistance with your divorce or another family law matter, please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance Family Law.