Sometimes marriages don’t work out and a couple decides that divorce is the only way out. It can be a complicated process and take months or years to complete. Before taking this step, it’s important to be informed about what is involved. Here are 10 things you should know before getting a divorce.
1. Your Children Don’t Have To Suffer
Getting a divorce can be emotionally draining on everyone involved. The rush of emotions that come with such a decision can make you lose focus of the people that should matter most – your children.
Remember that even though you are getting divorced, your children aren’t. For their sake, avoid having arguments and fights in their presence. For whatever reason you are getting a divorce, your children shouldn’t suffer, and you should never take out your frustration on your children.
As a parent, their welfare should be your priority. Fighting for custody should be based on what’s best for them, and not on what you want.
If you feel you can’t put your feelings aside, it may be helpful to rely on a professional for help. In fact, according to Thomas Stahl, an attorney may be better suited to handle your custody case because they have years of experience handling similar cases.
2. Carefully Think Through Every Major Decision
During a divorce, you have to make several life-changing decisions, all in a relatively short period of time. These decisions should not be made in a rush, however. Think carefully about every decision, weighing the pros and cons.
Decisions concerning your children, your property and your finances should not be taken lightly. You might be tempted to make rash decisions just to quicken the divorce process but taking your time is a better option.
3. Every Divorce Is Different
When it comes to divorce, everyone wants to give advice based on their own experience, but it is important to note that not all divorces are the same. Every divorce has its own specific issues and challenges to work through.
What happened with your friend or relative might not happen with you. They might have good intentions, but the advice they are giving could send you down a path that is not right for you. Instead of making friends and family your divorce consultants, talk to your attorney and financial consultant instead.
If you can, talk to a psychologist or mental health professional as well. Living your life and making decisions based on the experiences of others is not advisable.
4. Be Transparent With Your Spouse and Your Attorney
You have to be as honest as possible with your spouse and your attorney throughout the divorce process. In having discussions with your attorney, you might decide to leave out certain details because you think it may hinder your case.
You should remember that your attorney is a professional, so you always should be honest. Hiding information such as inventory of all your property or assets may work against you in the long run. The same goes for your spouse. The law demands that you disclose all information regarding your assets, finances, and debts. Refusing to do this can end in severe penalties should the case go to court.
5. Don’t Go in Expecting To “Win”
You should not see divorce as a competition where the winner takes all. Divorce involves several components such as child custody, alimony, and division of assets.
There is no guarantee that you will get exactly what you want. If you decide to go to court, you should consider the possible outcomes and be ready for any of them. Remember, sometimes sacrificing some of the financial battle will help keep the peace between you and your spouse – which is only going to benefit everyone involved moving forward.
6. Your Expectations Must Be Consistent With the Law
You should take time and carefully think through your expectations. Most often, people have expectations that are either unrealistic or in conflict with the law. Get an attorney who is experienced and can give you sound counsel. Understanding how the law works in divorce cases and using that to guide your decisions can affect how quickly the divorce is resolved.
Avoid gathering information from online sources, unless you know for sure they are reputable. When in doubt, defer to your lawyer for up-to-date, accurate information that is relevant in your state. This will help you have reasonable expectations based on real facts.
7. Resolving Divorce Cases In Court Is Difficult
Forget the movies, this is real life. In court, you can’t always be certain of how the case will go. If you decide to take your spouse to court, you should be fully prepared. Issues that may seem simple to you may take days or months to resolve. Not only that, divorce trials can end up sucking up the very assets you are trying to protect.
If the trial revolves around child custody, it may have serious implications on your children. You should consider this carefully before deciding to go to court.
8. Divorce Cases Don’t Always End Up in Court
Contrary to popular belief, divorce cases don’t always end up in court. There are other methods in resolving such cases, such as collaborative divorce or legally-binding mediation.
In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse would have to get a collaborative attorney. Both of you would have to agree to settle the case outside of court. This method does not involve only attorneys, but other professionals such as a financial consultant, a therapist, and a child specialist.
Another alternative to resolving divorce cases in court is mediation. Here, a neutral party is responsible for handling negotiations between both parties so that a mutual agreement can be reached. Although the mediator might suggest you consult an attorney, the attorney does not have to be present during negotiations.
9. Prepare an Inventory of Valuable Items in Your House
All household furniture, as well as valuable items such as expensive paintings, should be included in the inventory. You can create an inventory by taking pictures of every valuable item. Pictures should be kept in a secure place. Pictures can also be kept in storage devices such as online or external storage.
Make a list of the items and update it when necessary. Ensure that you have copies of all important documents and receipts, whenever possible. Hiding documents and valuable items is against the law and should be avoided. In case of any misunderstanding over household furnishings, the inventory will come in handy.
10. Always Look to the Future
Dwelling on the hurt your spouse has caused you will only make the divorce process more complicated. It might also affect your sense of reasoning and your decision-making. Try to forget what has already happened and turn your attention towards what is yet to come. Your spouse does not have to be your enemy. Every decision you make should be geared towards what is best for your family.
Going through a divorce is not an easy process but seeking help from the right professionals and support groups will make it a bit easier. You should hire an attorney right from the beginning and consider the points above to help you make decisions that will benefit all parties involved in the divorce.