Staying calm is important to do right away because, a lot of times, people are really taken aback; they’re angry, they’re hurt, and there’s a lot of emotions. Give yourself a moment without reacting. I always advise that people should speak with a family law attorney, ideally more than one, just to simply ascertain your rights, your obligations, and get a basic education on family law. There’s a lot of nuances in family law that most people don’t know when they get married.
You don’t ultimately have to be represented by an attorney; you can represent yourself, you can retain counsel. But it’s always a good idea to get a little bit of an understanding as to what’s going to happen in this divorce process and what are the steps that need to take place. A person should be aware that they have about 30 days to respond once they’re served. There is some timeliness to this that needs to be taken into consideration as well.
Partner at McGaughey & Spirito, California family lawyer Erin McGaughey handles complex divorce cases that involve child custody issues, financial issues, and business interests.