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Advising your spouse of your intended divorce action


separated coupleShould I advise my spouse of the divorce action which I intend to institute? This is very much of a personal question. I would suggest that it is possibly better to play open cards with your spouse, and to advise him or her that you intend to institute a divorce action.

It may serve to save astronomical costs if you discuss with your spouse why you want the divorce and how you wish the assets to be divided. It would further be beneficial to discuss the divorce prior to seeing an attorney, as issues such as where the summons can be served can also be agreed on. Normally a divorce summons is served either at a person’s home or at his/her work address. It must be served personally. Some people do not like accepting service of the divorce summons at their work address, as it is embarrassing for them when the sheriff arrives there with the divorce summons.

Very often a client asks an attorney whether it would make a difference as to which spouse institutes action first. The answer to this is no, as the party on whom the summons has been served will in any event be able to answer to that summons with a plea and a counterclaim. The counterclaim in fact has the same effect as instituting action against somebody by means of a summons.

It very often happens that two parties within a few days of each other institute action against each other by means of a divorce summons. In such a case the summons that was issued first at court is the one that is followed. Should the parties communicate with each other prior to instituting action, a situation like this can be prevented.

Divorce battles are very much tactical by nature. A client’s communication with his/her spouse is part of the tactics, and plays a big role in settling the matter, almost as important as the role of the attorneys, and may save exorbitant costs. I would suggest that you indicate to your partner at the start that you wish to institute the divorce action, and that you have no hidden agendas.

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