What is the Very First Step You Should Take in a North Carolina Divorce?

When spouses first become aware of an impending divorce, they may find it difficult to move forward. Putting aside the psychological trauma and crippling stress related to the breakdown of a marriage, there are many different options to consider when deciding on that crucial first step. Do you call your bank and make sure your assets are protected? Should you focus on your children? Or should you simply call a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina for advice?

The Obvious First Step: Call a Lawyer

Perhaps the most obvious first step is to contact a divorce attorney in North Carolina. Spouses can take this step immediately after being served with divorce papers, and a lawyer can instantly provide guidance and information during this confusing period. If your spouse has already served you with the divorce papers, they almost certainly have their own lawyer. This means that they may have had weeks or months to prepare for the divorce, making it all the more important to develop your own legal strategy as soon as possible.

Another Easy Step: Call Your Bank

After you have booked a consultation with a divorce attorney, another obvious step is to make a quick phone call to your bank. Whether you are the primary wage earner or not, it makes sense to check on your marital assets and determine the overall financial situation. You may learn that your joint bank account has been frozen. Your bank might also inform you that your spouse has just emptied your accounts, withdrawing cash in a highly suspicious manner. Whatever the case may be, your bank can provide guidance and information relatively quickly, and they can also help you set up your own independent accounts as you separate financially from your spouse.

Consider Focusing on Your Children

Prioritizing the needs of your children is always a smart move, and it may help as you strive for positive custody results throughout the next few months. By spending time with your children and seeing to their needs, you send a clear message that you are the more responsible parent. If your spouse is preoccupied with legal strategies and securing assets, they may encounter challenges during the upcoming custody battle, especially if you spend more time with the children during this difficult time. Putting aside these factors, it also makes sense to support your children from a purely ethical standpoint.

Prioritize Your Own Mental Health

While supporting your children represents an obvious choice, you must also prioritize yourself. It is all too easy to rush ahead and focus on legal or financial issues after being served with divorce papers. While this quick action may provide you with better results, it can also lead to burnout and psychological issues. It’s important to take the time to process your emotions and heal. Although distracting yourself and “keeping busy” can help to some degree, you might also consider booking an appointment with a mental health professional.

Communicate With Your Ex

Sometimes, spouses are served with divorce papers without any face-to-face interaction with their exes. Often, these individuals simply disappear from the family home – preferring to remain distant throughout the rest of the legal process. However, it may be very beneficial to reach out to your ex and open up a line of communication. While you and your ex might not see eye-to-eye, you can still pursue positive results by avoiding litigation. The only way to do this is through mediation or collaborative law. This process is cheaper, faster, more private, and less stressful. However, it requires you to work with your ex through effective, cooperative negotiations. This is why a civilized, polite form of communication can be so helpful from the very beginning of the divorce process.

Gather Evidence

Finally, you may need to act relatively quickly to access, record, and store any evidence that you think might be useful in your upcoming divorce. This might include documents kept in a safe, photographs, screenshots of social media posts, and much more. Only you know what might serve as critical evidence in your divorce, and you may need to think carefully about this step in the moments after you receive your divorce papers.

Where Can I Find an Experienced Divorce Attorney in North Carolina?

As previously noted, calling a divorce attorney in North Carolina is usually a smart first step when approaching the end of a marriage. You can take this step by making a simple phone call to Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We know that when you face divorce it often feels like there are a million different thoughts running through your mind. A consultation with a professional lawyer can help ease these concerns, clarify confusion, and identify the most appropriate course of legal action. Reach out today to get started.