What to Do When You Have Been Served Divorce Papers


Being served with divorce papers in Massachusetts is a serious matter which should not be ignored.

The paperwork you receive might include a complaint for divorce, automatic restraining order, tracking sheet, summons, motion for temporary orders and notice of date for temporary orders to be heard and more.

Here are 11 things to do after you have received a divorce service packet:

  1. Answer the divorce complaint within 20 days.

  2. File a counterclaim asserting your rights and requests for relief.

  3. Complete a financial statement in preparation of temporary hearings.

  4. Prepare a child support guideline.

  5. Create an expense sheet, gather all your financials for at least three years.

  6. Do not: transfer any assets, change any beneficiaries, change any health insurance, close any accounts or credit cards, or you may violate the (automatic, financial) restraining order. 

  7. Check your credit cards and your bank account to see if your spouse has without your knowledge or permission charged or withdrawn, or closed any accounts to pay his or her retained attorney.

  8. If you are still both living in the home, be prepared for extreme stress until the (ordered or agreed upon) living and financial arrangements are in place.

  9. Contact professionals: your attorney, your financial advisor, your CPA or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) to get a handle on your financial options.

  10. If you have children, consider a therapist for them (and one for yourself) to assist with the transition associated with divorce. 

  11. Do not delay or you will put yourself in a vulnerable and uneducated situation.

There is a lot going on here and you, who is most likely under stress, generally lacks the objectivity or education to move forward on your own (in my humble professional and personal opinion). Remember, action relieves anxiety. Divorce in MA is managable with the help of a professional. Contact a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), and download our divorce checklist below. 


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