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3 critical steps to take at the onset of a divorce

You and your spouse have been in an unsuccessful marriage. You both have good jobs, both care for your children and their needs, so what happens when one decides to terminate the marriage? Whether the decision is mutual or not, one of you will have to file for divorce to get the process going.

When served with divorce papers, there are some steps you should take immediately to ensure you do what you can from the beginning to further the process and have your voice heard.

1. Pay attention to timelines

In Florida, the respondent in a divorce has 20 days to file an answer for divorce. This clock starts running the day the process server formally serves you. The first day is actually the day after, and unless otherwise stated in the petition, it is 20 calendar days. If you do not file the proper response by the required date, you may forfeit your rights and the court may grant the divorce solely on the petitioner's terms.

2. Stay away from social media

Social media has become a large piece of everyday life, and people post things from what they ate for breakfast to the weather. It is a good idea to keep your separation and divorce away from social media. Anything you post on social media becomes fair game for a court's consideration during divorce. Vacations, job changes or disparaging talk about your ex is open.

3. Keep the kids out of it

Your children need to know what is happening, but they do not need the details. Regardless of your feelings for your ex, you must keep the children in a neutral zone. Concentrate on reassuring them of each parent's love for them, not badmouthing the other parent. These actions can come back to haunt you during the proceedings.

Divorce is one of the most stressful events a person can endure. Being aware of what you should and should not do at the onset helps keep the process smooth and fair.

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