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Steps to take when you're surprised with a divorce petition

Finding out that your spouse had filed for divorce when you don't see it coming can be a difficult situation. The steps you take in the upcoming weeks can have a major impact on your future, so you need to take the time to think about everything that's going on. Making decisions in your best interests becomes the top priority in your life.

One thing that you should do as soon as possible after you find out your marriage is over is to gather important documents. These don't have to be the originals in most cases, so grab copies if necessary. Some of the things to gather include bank and investment account statements, mortgage documents, titles and deeds, and anything else that might become important during the divorce.

You have to prepare yourself for the process that's coming. You will have to divide up the assets and determine what's going to happen with the children. Some people can do this through mediation or collaborative processes, but heading to a divorce trial is sometimes necessary. Learning bout the options for the specific concerns that are most important to you can help you plan your divorce strategy.

It is going to take time for you to heal after the divorce. Most people experienced a breakup, but this situation is likely going to be much more intense, especially since the divorce was a surprise. You will probably feel very raw for a while. Try not to let your current emotions impact the decisions you make. Instead, think about things from a practical standpoint so you can make decisions that are in your best interests.

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