Whether you have been served with notice that your spouse has filed for divorce, or if you are contemplating filing for divorce yourself, there are important steps anyone facing this scenario should undertake.

The first is to stay calm. This is obviously easier said than done but it is important as many people do or say things while processing this major life change that they later come to regret.

If you have children, take whatever steps necessary to distance them from the proceedings you or your spouse are considering.  At this early stage of the process there is no benefit to advise them of the situation and they should not be involved in any discussions between you and your spouse.  Children should never be compelled to “choose sides” regardless of their age.

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Do not post or share any form of information regarding the situation on social media!  While venting about your feelings may make you feel better in the present, any negative and inflammatory comments about your spouse will have a detrimental long-term effect on the disposition your case.  Once comments are posted online, even if they are deleted, they are never completely gone.

Do not allow your spouse to intimidate you with threats or claims of withholding access to children or financial support.  The Courts are available to you and can resolve these immediate issues before your divorce is finalized.

Organize and secure any and all financial or other legal or family documents in your possession.  These would include prior tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements and retirement account statements.  If any person or child suffers from a serious medical condition, secure copies of medical records.   The more information you can collect and which does not need to be obtained from a third party such as the IRS, an employer or a bank or credit card company, can save significant costs over the duration of your case.  If you and your spouse signed a Prenuptial Agreement, be sure to maintain a copy and provide it to your attorney.

Do not transfer any significant amount of financial assets or property, nor should you incur any major debt.  Do not change beneficiaries on any insurance policies or modify your existing health and life insurance coverages.  You should also confirm that your spouse has not taken any of these actions.

Lindabury’s Family Law Group has decades of experience representing clients in both contentious and civil divorces.  We provide the full range of divorce and family law services and are easily accessible from our Westfield New Jersey office.  Call today to schedule a consultation with James McGlew at 908-233-6800.