Serving & Responding to Divorce Papers
Setting the Agenda vs. Responding to It
What most people don’t realize is that divorce doesn’t begin when someone decides to serve divorce papers. It begins when either you or your spouse begin to think about divorce. If you have even begun to consider divorce, we encourage you to contact us.
Filing first can give you an advantage and the ability to set the agenda. However, if you already have been served divorce papers, we can still provide you with top-notch counsel.
Serving Divorce Papers
The formal process begins when one spouse files the complaint for divorce. The case is then assigned a docket number and the other spouse is served with a summons and complaint. The summons and complaint require a person to appear in court to respond and hear the outline of facts on which the complaint is based.
The complaint will also outline topics such as:
- Alimony requested by the complainant
- Child support requirements
- Child custody
- Property division
As soon as the divorce proceedings have commenced, both spouses are strictly prohibited from disposing of any of their property.
Responding to Divorce Papers
If your spouse has already served you divorce papers, we recommend opening new bank accounts and depositing half the money from your current joint accounts. Try to avoid spending this money if at all possible. Your lawyer could then procure an asset restraining order that stops your spouse from seeking money from certain bank accounts and other areas. We also recommend canceling credit cards in your name or building up credit if you currently have none.
Things to avoid after receiving divorce papers:
- Locking your spouse out of the house
- Abandoning your children
- Manipulating your children
- Speaking maliciously of your spouse
- Emptying your savings account
Contact Our Massachusetts Divorce Attorneys
Whether your divorce comes as a surprise or has been expected, there are certain steps you should take at the start to protect yourself, your children and your finances. If you need information or answers, we invite you to contact our Massachusetts divorce lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your options.