The unexpected and rapid changes caused by divorce papers
Sure, you and your wife had problems. Just like any other married couple. But you had spent years building a life together. You were committed to continue being a good husband and working through any issues. Sadly, your wife just didn’t feel the same way. You were sitting at your desk at work and, suddenly, a man hands you a stack of papers that changes your life in an instant.
Your wife has just served you with divorce papers, now what?
Divorce is emotionally challenging for all men. Unfortunately, some men experience so much guilt and despair about divorce that they give into every demand made by their wives or their attorney, no matter how ridiculous. If your wife filed first for divorce, it means she has been preparing to do it for a while and has a clear plan of what she wants to take with her from your marriage. While you may feel shell-shocked, this is no time to surrender.
Even though your wife filed first, it doesn’t mean you lose your rights
At Divorce Lawyers For Men, we’re dedicated to helping men just like you. Good fathers and husbands are blindsided by wives ready to end years of marriage and take whatever they can get. We have helped thousands of men and we can help you.
Divorce cases are not decided by who files first. Still, the person who files first does gain a few advantages. It is important that you understand that by filing first, your wife has started a series of deadlines that you must meet. She has started out prepared with a plan. Now you need to play a little catch-up. Not using a lawyer? Check out our how-to videos on filling out divorce paperwork in Washington State by clicking here.
Important points to consider
Understanding the potential preparations and legal strategies of your spouse in divorce proceedings
While you may have had no idea you were getting a divorce until you were served, your wife has likely been planning this for a long time. This probably means she has had a divorce lawyer for a while now. Her attorney’s legal team has carefully prepared her Petition as well as other motions and court filings. She has had time to evaluate your assets and work out what she wants to keep once you are gone. You just got dropped into a plan she has been crafting for a long time.
Significance of filing a timely and comprehensive response to a divorce petition
By filing first, your wife has started the clock and set the process on her time table. She was able to take as much time as she needed to prepare her Petition and choose when to file it with the court. You don’t have the same luxury of time. Along with her Petition, you were also served a Summons. That document sets forth a deadline by which you must file a Response to Petition. If you want to argue any of the terms in her Petition, you must file your response on time.
The differences between your wife’s Petition and your Response serve as the framework for the entire divorce. It is crucial that you carefully prepare a Response that includes all the key issues that are important to you. An experienced and skilled divorce attorney can prepare a proper Response by the deadline.
Challenging temporary orders in divorce and seeking legal counsel
Along with her Petition, your wife also likely filed Motions for Temporary Orders. Once a divorce action starts, there are issues that often cannot wait until the divorce is resolved. This includes matters regarding finances, child custody, child support, and spousal support. Your wife has, no doubt, carefully prepared these motions with her legal team. She may be asking the court to allow her to live in your house, give her full custody of your children, award her additional child support, order large spousal support, or grant her control over community assets.
Since your wife has filed for these Temporary Orders, the court has set a hearing date. You must challenge these motions if you do not want your wife’s requests to be granted by default. This includes filing written responses to each motion and appearing on the hearing date to argue the motion.
You may be tempted to think that Temporary Orders aren’t that important since they only last until the divorce is final. This is a common and dangerous misunderstanding. A hearing on the Temporary Orders may be the only time during the divorce that a certain issue is argued. The terms of Temporary Orders often become permanent as part of the final Decree of dissolution of marriage issued by the court.
It is in your best interest to seek the advice of a qualified Washington divorce attorney. You need to properly prepare, and fully respond, to every Temporary Order your wife has filed. You also need to be ready if she files additional motions. An experienced family law attorney can defend you against Temporary Orders filed by your wife.
More Helpful Information: Frank Morris shares his 11 Rules to Surviving Divorce (Video & Downloadable Checklist)
Beat the clock
By filing her Petition first, your wife may have caught you by surprise. You went from being a husband and father to fighting in court for everything important in your life. You may feel like you can’t catch up with her at this point. That she has already run out the clock and got you beat.
At Divorce Lawyers For Men, we’ve accumulated decades of experience representing men in divorce
Regardless of what your wife has done so far (or is preparing to do), our team is ready and able to protect your rights.Don’t let your wife run the show and set the timetable.
Divorce Lawyers For Men™ attorneys offer real solutions for men going through a divorce in Washington. Our experienced family law attorneys understand the unique challenges men face in divorce. Call us today at (360) 866-7393 to speak with an attorney who understands your situation.
If you would like more information on the divorce process, or to take the best divorce resources with you in print, please check out our free divorce guide for men or contact our office to meet with an attorney about your particular circumstances.