It can be overwhelming, upsetting and confusing to receive divorce paperwork even if you are expecting a divorce, never mind if you were unaware. It may be very emotional and easy to ignore or act inappropriately. However, there are some important steps to prepare and respond.
You should keep track of when you receive the paperwork because there are some deadlines to respond to. If you wait too long it may harm your case by potentially giving up some rights. It is important to look to see if there is a court date scheduled especially if there is a temporary motion scheduled. You also need to carefully review the automatic restraining order which limits transfers of assets, changing beneficiaries and so forth without a court order.
You should try and give yourself some time to carefully read through the paperwork to see what you agree and disagree with along with what information is missing. If you are able to make a list of what is wrong and what information you have to support your position; including documents, witnesses, financial records and so forth.
Further, the gathering of important financial information such as tax returns, pay stubs, 401K statements and other related information. You may also want to meet with an individual therapist to deal with the emotional and mental health strain that you are put under.
Most importantly, you should schedule a hopefully free initial consultation with an experienced divorce attorney. It may make sense to meet with a few experienced divorce attorneys to see who you feel most comfortable with.