Not everyone expects a spouse to file for divorce. When a spouse reveals intentions to file, things may come as a surprise. While the shock might prove overwhelming, the spouse needs to be aware of essential responsibilities. The divorce could involve negotiations for settlements or even prolonged litigation, so preparedness might be vital when the other spouse wants out of the marriage.
Hiring an attorney should be a top priority. A divorce represents a legal process, so both spouses may benefit from representation by an experienced attorney. The attorney may explain where a client stands and what outcomes might be reasonably possible. An attorney may also work to protect a client’s interests during the proceedings, so speaking with an attorney without any delays makes sense.
Likely, both spouses have some co-mingled finances. Checking credit reports and financial information becomes necessary to reveal if the other spouse withdrew money, ran up debts or otherwise did things without their spouse’s knowledge or permission. Even if the one spouse walks out, both parties might be liable for debts on joint accounts. The other spouse could take money from a joint account as well.
It’s advisable to keep things as friendly as possible. Fighting, arguing and blaming the other spouse could make the divorce proceedings more challenging. As stressful as a divorce is, the process remains a legal proceeding. Matters related to everything from finances to child custody may require negotiations, so keeping things cordial could move the process along without added drama.
Spouses should also take steps to prepare financial statements. Those seeking alimony and child support might need to present full reports on their expenses and income. Getting financial documents in order could help with the presentation.
A family law attorney may advise a client on how to approach things when their spouse wants a divorce. The attorney may also prepare the client for the legal proceedings ahead.