[Y]ou knew this moment was coming. There have been signs for months. You walked out to your car and a gentlemen asks your name, then handed you divorce paperwork. You’ve been suddenly served divorce.

What are the First Tasks to Accomplish When Suddenly Served Divorce?

1. Read the Paperwork. Take a 20 minute coffee break, don’t over react. Sit down quietly and read the paperwork. Yes, it will read like legalize, but zoom in on a few key points.

  • Does she have an attorney or representing herself?
  • Is she asking to take the kids?
  • Is she asking the court to move to another city or state?
  • What other special items are listed in the paperwork?
  • Is she going after the house?
  • What is the date and time of the first hearing?

2. Why Did She File for Divorce? Don’t say, “I don’t know?” Be real, you know. Can You Save Your Marriage from Divorce? This is your wake up call, is the marriage salvageable?

3. Do You Want to Fight for Custody? Take stock in the situation. Are You the Better Parent? Would the kids be better off with you? Decide If It is Worth the Fight for Custody.

4. Don’t Move Out of the House, Stay If You Can. Moving is bad, especially away from your kids. If at all possible try to stay with the children. Suggest that she move, if she wants out of the marriage.

5. If Moving, Live as Close to Your Ex as Possible. Sometimes you don’t have a choice in the situation. Perhaps it is better to move out than to fight constantly in front of the kids. If you do move, Stay in the Same School District & Live as Close to Your Ex as Possible.

6. Establish a Pre-Divorce Visitation Schedule. Don’t wait to let the court start limiting your time with your children, which the judge will at the first hearing. Be proactive and work out a schedule with your soon to be Ex. You Need to Establish a Pre-Divorce Visitation Schedule and make it aggressive with lots of time with your kids. You need to have a schedule better than standard, before your first hearing.

[tweet “Custody Tip: Offer to watch them after school. Go for lots of overnights.”]

7. Understand Your Custody Options. The world preaches “joint custody” but what exactly does that mean? You need to understand the legal terms expressed for custody in court. What is Joint Custody? Reality or Misnomer? Also familiarize yourself with Factors to Determine Primary Child Custody.

8. Find a Good Attorney and Fast. You are behind the 8-Ball. Odds a very good your Ex already has an attorney. Do I Need an Attorney for My Child Custody Case? Absolutely, yes. You do not and should not represent yourself.

9. Consider A Health Change for the Better. Ok this is your “come to Jesus” time. Divorce is your time to improve your life. Now is the time to Consider a Health Change for the Better. Stop drinking, stop yelling, get in shape, make some positive life goals.

10. Educate Yourself to Win Custody. Listen to your attorney, read books, read this blog, take a course. Don’t leave your divorce and custody to chance. Knowledge is power.

Action is needed. The divorce is in process. Don’t wait, get to work. Otherwise decision will be made for you.

What first steps do you recommend? What did you do when suddenly served with divorce?

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