I’ve Just Been Served with Divorce Papers. What Do I Do Now?

  • 30 May 2018

You’ve just answered the knock at the door to be greeted by a process server, who hands you divorce papers. Whether this moment was a surprise to you or not, you may be unsure of what to do now.

You’ve just been served with divorce papers. What now?

The first thing you must do after being served with divorce papers is decide how you will respond. There is a limited amount of time to respond to the initial divorce papers, usually no more than 30 days. [1]

If you’re going to hire an attorney, now is a good time to start meeting with potential attorneys. The attorney can help you determine the best way to respond to the divorce complaint, and make sure it gets filed correctly. [2]

Once you have submitted your answer – and it has been properly filed and served on your spouse – you can begin thinking more about issues that will impact your life down the road.

First, think about where you will live. Will you remain in your marital home, or will you need to find other accommodations? If you’re moving out of the marital home, is your spouse staying? How will you handle the equity you’ve put into the house during your marriage? If you’re selling the house, how will the profits be split? Don’t forget to calculate some necessary living expenses into your predictions on how much it will cost to run your split household.

Next, if you have children, give some thought to how the divorce will impact them. You’ll need to consider when they will be with which parent, and how any possible moves will impact them attending school. Also give some thought to future child support and get a temporary order in place as soon as possible. [2]

You also need to think about how you and your spouse will split up assets and debts from your marriage – cars, bank accounts, and credit card debt. At this early stage, it’s probably best to begin making some lists. First, list out all joint assets and debts you know about. Make another list of anything that you know for sure is separate to yourself or your spouse, including any inheritances, family gifts, or things acquired before you were married. These lists will help you down the road as you need to begin making final decisions on financial matters. [2]

Most important in this early stage of divorce, however, is to take some time for yourself. The divorce process can be a draining experience, so finding little ways to take care of yourself make it easier. Meet up with old friends, rekindle an old hobby, or take a long walk daily. Making yourself a priority even when things get stressful is important.

Experienced Divorce Representation in Metro Baltimore

If you have recently been served with divorce papers, or you are considering divorce, contact the experienced legal team at the Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado. We work tirelessly to get you everything you deserve from your divorce. Schedule your free consultation today!


[1] Bird, Beverly, “What Happens When You Are Served Divorce Papers?” Legal Zoom.
[2] “Four Tips after Being Served Divorce Papers,”

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