What Should I Do if My Wife Filed for Divorce?

Updated on November 29, 2021
Updated: June 21, 2022

It is not easy to go through the divorce process. The person you took your vows with and promised to love and to cherish becomes a stranger to you and decides to end the marriage. Most of the time when a couple goes through a difficult marriage the thought of divorce will come to mind. When they agree to push through with the divorce it still comes as a shock to both of them or at least to the spouse being served with the divorce papers.

It’s always tough to go through a divorce. Divorce cost is high and the despair about divorce isn't easy either. The first steps you take during the divorce process are the most important. Clear your mind and understand that no matter how bad it is, it is not the end of the world. You can still recover from the ordeal and move forward.

Surround yourself with a strong support system don’t go through the divorce process alone. You will need people who will care and show you love and affection. Ensure that you have people who you can run to during this hard time. Finally, if you are confused and wondering what should I do if my wife filed for divorce get yourself a lawyer. An experienced family law attorney will do all the hard work for you. As you focus on recovering emotionally your lawyer will help with the division of assets and custody battles in court during divorce proceedings.

Advantages of Filing for a Divorce First

Filing for divorce first has a few advantages, and one of them is that the spouse that filed for divorce is able to prepare before time. Your wife already has a plan and you are just figuring out what to do.

Your spouse has had enough time to think things through. They have gotten themselves a lawyer and consulted extensively before serving you with the papers. For some men, this reality is hard to accept that the marriage is over. Only a few people manage to fix their marriage and avoid divorce once the case has been filed in court. Some individuals try to get their spouse back and are not keen on the divorce process. As a result, their spouse gets an upper hand. You can talk to divorce lawyers for men at Tommalieh law and get help with your divorce issues.

person taking ring off over divorce paperwork, What Should I Do if My Wife Filed for Divorce

Some people also become very emotionally disturbed and are not able to continue with the process hence let it continue without objecting to a single claim from their wives.

Ensure that you are keen, alert and in your right senses so are able to make good judgment. By letting things such as child custody or property division go her way, you may end up not being able to support yourself financially or you may even end up giving your wife more than she ought to get from the divorce.

Steps to Follow After Getting Served With Divorce Papers

The steps you take after being served divorce papers

Go Through the Divorce Papers

Some people tend to ignore the divorce paperwork that they have been served and they continue to live their lives as before. However, the document contains information useful to the case. It has information such as;

  • The court where the case was filed - You will be able to know if the case is still in the same state and hence that know the rules that apply to the state on divorce.
  • It gives information about the time the response should be given
  • They may also include child support, spouse support, and child custody. It also explains if your spouse has a lawyer or she is filing on her own.

Learn More: Illinois Divorce Process


In most cases, you are allowed 30 days to respond to the case depending on the time you were served with the papers. You can either respond a response by yourself or through the help of a lawyer. You are also required to respond to the number of complaints given instead of giving a general answer. 

Get a Lawyer

Getting a lawyer is very crucial to the divorce process. Especially if you have assets that you would like to maintain or if you would like to have custody of children.

You require someone who understands the law to ensure that your needs are protected. If the spouse was the breadwinner or was in charge of most assets it is important to have a lawyer who will defend you and fight for your rights.

To help the lawyer you may need to provide them with some documents as well as useful information. Ensure you get documents that may help your case. This includes:

  • Marriage certificate- to prove that both of you were legally married and also prove the duration of the stay.
  • Credit card statements and bank statements all financial documents would help show your role in the marriage. Your lawyer will give you more information
  • Assets and debts - they will be used in the division of assets and determining how debts will be paid after the dissolution of the marriage.

Be Prepared: 10 Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer


Division of property during a divorce causes a lot of problems. Even though some people do not want to fight over assets while undergoing a divorce probably because it is an at-fault divorce, having a lawyer can help you defend your legal rights and make a stable decision. The following tips will help you protect your assets:

  • Hire an experienced divorce attorney - if you know that a divorce action will cost you a lot and lead you to lose the assets and wealth you possess you should highly consider getting legal counsel. The lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and if negotiations don’t work they will be ready to represent you in court.
  • Change accounts - if your salary comes through a joint account, ensure that you deviate it to a new solo account. Also, close all joint accounts and credit card accounts, you do not want to be paying for the things your almost ex-wife wants to purchase, she is no longer your responsibility. The court can order for the accounts to be frozen. You can as well make changes to some of the insurance covers you had taken that includes your car insurance, health insurance, and life insurance.
  • Get copies of all assets - if you had assets that both of you share ownership of then you will be required to decide who will own the assets. Fair distribution of assets is important to ensure that you are satisfied and have regrets in the future. A divorce attorney will come in handy when you need your assets protected. You should aim to secure the assets that you brought to the marriage, inheritance, and gifts that were given specifically to you. These are known as separate property or non-marital assets.
  • Get copies of mortgages and debts – you may be required to move out of your home before the divorce is settled. This in a way may reduce your claim to the house which you partly pay for in a mortgage, hence some people decide to sell the house to clear the debt. However, if one decides to leave the house to the other couple, then they should agree on the terms of paying the mortgage.
gavel in front of bookshelf, What Should I Do if My Wife Files for Divorce?

Finally, to protect your assets, it is wise to change your will.

Temporary Orders

Temporary orders are petitions given in the case where some key issues cannot wait until the end of the divorce judgments. These things include taking care of minor children (physical custody), taking care of the other spouse’s needs (spousal maintenance), and having financial control over assets.

After filing a petition for your divorce it is possible for your spouse to try and get temporary orders so she can manage the marital property. It is wise to respond to the temporary order and appear for the family court hearing so you can challenge the order. When the spouse does not show up to the divorce hearing a default judgment is ruled in favor of the wife.

If Your Wife Filed for Divorce Contact Our Firm for Help

At Tomalieh Law our divorce attorneys in Orland Park are knowledgeable about divorce law and they specialize in representing individuals who are going through contested and uncontested divorces. Our legal team offers excellent service and ensures that the divorce process is as smooth as it can be for our clients. Talk to a skilled divorce attorney from Tomalieh law about your divorce petition and let us advise you on the best action to take so you can get a favorable divorce decree.

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