As a Bucks County Divorce attorney I have worked with many clients who are facing a divorce they do not want. They may still be in love and want to work on the marriage. At the very least they want to hold the family together for the sake of the children. However, when the other spouse is adamant, they do come to realize there is little they can do. Many ignore the divorce papers they were serviced. This can be a dangerous mistake to make. It is critical to take a few necessary steps to protect yourself personally, legally, and financially.
First and foremost, if your spouse has started the legal process it is imperative that you take action. There are important timelines to follow including paperwork that must be filed with the court and the gathering of documents in a timely manner. Stalling the process could cause significant problems for you. We should meet to review what has been done, the information you have, and the important pieces you need to put in place.
Next, start collecting documents. No matter where you are in the process or how serious your spouse may be about moving forward, it is time to get educated in the finances of your household. Make a list of all financial accounts you have including passwords to accounts. You will need your original marriage certificate, any financial documents from the last three months, the deed to your home, and insurance information.
And of course, as this is going on you need to take care of yourself. Putting a support system in place will be critical as you deal with the end of your marriage, helping your children into their new lives, and moving forward. This can include confiding in close friends and family (hopefully one who has been through a divorce), and possibly spending time with a therapist to ensure you remain emotionally strong. If your spouse is willing you could see a couples counselor or the head of your religious organization.
When one spouse starts discussing divorce it can be a shock to your system. Take the legal process seriously even if you want to work to stay together. Here at our office in Langhorne, PA I have worked with clients who have eventually reconciled and recommit to build a stronger marriage. We have also helped those who struggle with the divorce to find a happier life waiting for them in the future.