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How to Act When Divorce Catches You By Surprise

 Posted on June 06, 2017 in Divorce

How to React When Divorce Catches You by SurpriseEveryone would like to believe that they understand the status of their marriage well enough to know when a divorce is imminent. However, some people are caught off guard when their spouse asks them for a divorce. Suddenly being served with divorce papers can be emotionally jarring. Your immediate reaction may be to ask yourself:

  • How did I miss the signs of my marriage falling apart?
  • Can I save my marriage?
  • What will happen to me and my children after a divorce?

While it is natural to feel shocked, you must prepare yourself for what is likely an inevitable divorce.

Legal Representation

Regardless of whether you believe there is a chance to reconcile your marriage, you should immediately search for a divorce lawyer to represent you. Because your spouse requested the divorce, he or she likely already has an attorney. The longer you go without an attorney of your own, the greater disadvantage you will be at. A divorce attorney can immediately explain:

  • What the divorce summons means;
  • Your options when you appear in court;
  • What documents you should start collecting; and
  • Whether you need to take action to prevent your spouse from draining your financial accounts.

Divorce Hearing

The divorce papers you receive will include a summons for a divorce hearing. Once you have been served the summons, you have 30 days to respond. You may not want to divorce, but attending the hearing is vital. Your absence will not prevent the divorce. Instead, your spouse can dictate the terms of your divorce, including the division of property and the allocation of parental responsibilities. The divorce settlement must still be equitable, but your absence deprives you of the chance to protect your interests.

No Fault State

Illinois no longer considers fault in determining whether to grant a divorce. Spouses only need to show that they have irreconcilable differences and meet the legal standards to divorce in Illinois. This means it is highly unlikely that you will be able to prevent the divorce in court. Your spouse has a low burden of proof in showing that there are irreconcilable differences. If he or she wants a divorce, you can delay the process but likely will not prevent it. You can save yourself time and money by accepting the divorce and moving on to negotiating the settlement.

Preparing for Divorce

The initial shock of your spouse requesting a divorce may affect your ability to make rational decisions. An experienced DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, PC can offer you beneficial advice that is not based on emotions. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.


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