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What to do if your spouse serves you with divorce papers

Marrying the love of your life is not necessarily a recipe for lifelong happiness. While some couples remain married forever, as many as 50% of all marriages end in divorce. How you react to the dissolution of your marriage, though, makes a difference. 

If you do not have a great relationship with your spouse, you may both be thinking about a potential divorce. Still, when one partner serves the other with divorce papers, shock, sadness and anxiety are often common emotions. You do not have to panic, though. If your spouse serves you with divorce papers, you must have a plan for dealing with your situation. 

Accept service of the summons and complaint 

Your wedding was probably beautiful and full of love, flowers, family members and friends. You must realize, however, that marriage is a contract. If your spouse decides to end the marriage, he or she must serve you with a summons and complaint. These are legal documents that you should not ignore. Instead, accept service so you have access to important information. 

Find legal representation 

You may be able to negotiate the end of your marriage in an amicable way. Or, you may face a protracted legal battle. Either way, you probably do not have the necessary legal training to fully analyze your situation. Therefore, as soon as possible, try to find legal counsel to help you explore your options. 

Gather important information 

You and your spouse probably have both marital and separate property. If you want to receive your fair share, you must gather relevant financial and other information. This can be tricky if you are not the one who handles the finances. Nonetheless, the effort is likely worthwhile. 

Receiving divorce papers may not be easy. Still, your divorce likely will not go away on its own. By taking a proactive approach to deal with your situation, you better position yourself for achieving an acceptable outcome.

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