Everything You Need To Know When Your Husband Files For Divorce

Has your husband decided to file for a divorce? He may have been discussing it, or it might have come as a surprise to you. Either way, being presented with legal documents for a divorce can be overwhelming and cause illogical actions. Here are six things to consider after receiving divorce papers from your husband.

My Husband Filed For Divorce. Now What?

A marriage doesn’t fall apart immediately—this process can take years and even decades. Numerous factors can lead to a divorce, and some may not be obvious to the other partner. 

Although the news of your husband filing for divorce can be quite shocking, it’s important to stand on solid ground and take control of your emotions before taking any action. “Don’t punish yourself by putting all blame on yourself”—great advice by Nicole Wright, healthcare professional and blogger. Undermining yourself like this can lead to some bad decisions.

Remember: You’re Equals

After finding out about the partner’s decision to get divorced, people often do silly things that might damage their potential position in a court. That is why you should remember that it does not matter whether you initiate the divorce process or your husband does. Both of you are in the same position.

Read The Papers

This is one of the most important pieces of advice. You should always read the papers first. “Knowledge is power”—this common phrase applies to the divorce process as well. Documents contain a plethora of crucial information that can be used to understand the grounds for divorce and the conditions that your husband is setting upfront.

Analyze The Information

After reading through the documents, you will be able to properly analyze the given information and decide on the next course of action. Understandably, going through such a situation is not fun, as you need to make some decisions. Is it possible to go with an uncontested divorce? Or are you not sure about things like child support and spousal support? 

Try Negotiating, With Or Without A Lawyer

It might be a good idea to try and talk these things through with your husband, even if chances for an uncontested divorce are slim. A peaceful resolution is often a preferable course of action for both spouses. 

If you think that feelings are still an issue in getting to an agreement, there are solutions. Wright suggests to “Find a therapist who can help you get off with the emotional baggage, which is a primary cause of your stress.” 

However, if you do not see a possibility for a proper dialogue, requesting legal advice from a lawyer is a preferable way to go.

My Husband Sent Me Divorce Papers

Your husband has sent you divorce papers—read them, as recommended earlier. After going through all the information detailed in the documents, think about if the conditions provided by your husband are acceptable to you. 

If you are okay with the conditions provided in the documentation, you can proceed with the divorce process if you deem it necessary. Signing papers means that you fully agree with the terms and conditions of the opposing side.

A Mediator

If you see a conflict of interest in the paperwork, there are several ways to deal with them. First of all, you can hire a professional mediator to talk through the differences with your husband. If you are successful in this scenario, it will be possible to proceed with an uncontested divorce, thus making everyone’s lives easier.

A Lawyer

Another option is to get a divorce relying on legal advice from a professional such as a lawyer. This way, you will be able to protect your interests. Furthermore, a lawyer will be able to point out some easy-to-miss conditions in the papers that you may overlook. This is essential as the receiving partner may not fully understand child support and spousal support conditions.

Can My Husband File For Divorce Without Me Knowing?

A short answer is yes—a husband can file for divorce without his wife knowing. But she’ll get the memo after the papers are served. While it is in someone’s legal right to decide that they don’t want to be married, they cannot withhold this kind of information from their spouse forever. 

Despite potential procedural differences, every state requires the court and petitioner to inform the wife about the husband’s intentions to get divorced. You should remember that the court will not grant a divorce decree to a husband whose partner is unaware of the process. 

However, there is an exception to this rule. If the wife is nowhere to be found, the husband has a legal right to divorce without her knowledge or consent. Such a rule exists because there are many cases when one spouse cannot locate the other. But there are strict conditions:

Husband has to show that he tried every possible way to contact his wife to serve papers;

If the wife has not been contacted and found, the husband must put a public declaration of divorce in a local newspaper.

As you can see, a husband can divorce without you knowing, but everything depends on individual circumstances. If it is impossible to find you via conventional means, everything is justified by law. Still, knowing your rights means being protected so keep that in mind!

I Have Been Served Divorce Papers. Do I Have to Sign Them?

If you have been served divorce papers, there are two ways to proceed: sign them or refuse to sign them. This sounds like an obvious answer, but different legal consequences follow both options.

If you decide to ignore the filing and do not sign the papers, the divorce will proceed in a specific way. The court will likely grant your husband virtually any request regarding essential things such as property division, child support, and alimony. 

The second option is to file an answer to the incoming petition. This decision provides you with the ability to respond to the husband’s grounds for divorce with your own. A response also allows you to propose a different solution regarding important matters such as allocating assets, child support, etc. 

Shawn Mcintyre suggests that “Responding means observing with intensity and awareness. It means not jumping to conclusions, seeing the situation from every angle and accepting that your opinion may not be the only one or even the best one.” 

This is great advice for divorce and might be the best solution to keep everything under control!

Some states allow a person to state that the divorce is based on irreconcilable differences that leave no chances for marriage to continue. Keep this in mind as well and research how your state’s courts react to this statement.

Also, keep in mind that in most states, personal serving is not classified as legal. It is required to hire a process server or a sheriff. 

What To Do If You Don’t Want A Divorce

The answer is simple: There’s little you can do in this situation. You could agree to an uncontested divorce and make it as painless as possible, or you could go a more conflicting way. However, “conflict is the most effective way to ruin a marriage beyond repair,” says Andriy Bogdanov, CEO of OnlineDivorce, one of the leading online services for preparing divorce filings.

If you are really looking to avoid a divorce, it is best to try and find a family counselor to help sort things between you and your husband. Still, it depends on whether your husband is willing to work with you on repairing the marriage. 

Everything depends on each individual case, and there is no concrete answer to this complicated question. If you don’t want a divorce, it is better to do everything possible, but there is no need for self-humiliation. If a partner wants a divorce, he will get it sooner or later.

If It’s Beyond Repair, Try To Avoid Additional Damage

Damage control is one of the things that you should consider if your husband has filed for divorce. You can hire an attorney to get the most from your spouse, but this does not mean he won’t do the same thing. If you are adamant about having everything your way, go forward with a contested divorce that actively involves the court. A lawyer is highly likely to protect your interests effectively.

If you want to part peacefully, it might be best to talk with your husband about what matters to both of you. This way, you could avoid considerable expenses on both financial and emotional aspects and get over the divorce process as soon as possible. Sometimes, a more peaceful approach yields better results than a contested divorce. 

Courts have a waiting period that is usually between 30 to 90 days. This time is often more than enough for both spouses to find common ground and sort things out. This period can be used to part on good terms, which is often the best decision if partners have children. Bottom line: Everything depends on how you respond to the case.