The Three Most Important Things to Consider When Getting a Divorce
Ask the Seminole Divorce Attorney: What should I know before I start the process of getting a divorce?
The conversation starts in a hundred different ways.
“Honey, I think I want a divorce.”
Sometimes it’s expected.
“I want to try it apart for a while.”
Sometimes it is not.
“It’s just not working anymore.”
Either way, bringing the question of divorce into a marriage is like cracking an egg into a bowl.
There’s no putting it back in the shell.
Are you considering raising the question of divorce with your spouse?
If the thought has crossed your mind, don’t make the mistake of speaking without thinking. When you start to consider divorce, you need proper preparation in order to make sure that both the initial conversation and the entire process go smoothly.
Take the time to think about these key factors before you tell your spouse that you need to talk.
Is Divorce the right thing to do?
Divorce is a serious and life-changing decision. It is not the best option for everyone. Talk to a mental health professional or a friend, or spend some time thinking or journaling to make sure that you are fully aware of why you are making the decision to divorce, and whether you are ready.
- Am I prepared to go through with the divorce?
- Is this based on an emotional reaction or is it an earnest and intentional desire?
- Am I aware of the negative consequences of this decision?
- Have I explored the best possible options to resolve our marital issues?
- How will I behave during and after my divorce?
Am I financially and legally ready?
Getting a divorce can be expensive, particularly if the process is contentious or if there is extensive property to divide. Even if you don’t want to hire a lawyer to work on your behalf throughout the process, it is wise to consult with a local divorce attorney before opening discussions. You can use your meeting with the divorce attorney to clarify or expand upon any of the questions you may have about court procedures, and learn what information you’ll need before you can move forward.
You can prepare for your meeting and help to protect your financial interests by pursuing the following steps after requesting a divorce:
- Identify what each of you owns in salary or property, and what each of you owes in debt.
- Get copies of all joint documents, such as W-2 forms and tax returns.
- Know what types of insurance and/or pension plans you both carry.
- Close any and all joint bank accounts.
- Know how much your lawyer charges, and whether you are working under an hourly rate or a flat fee for the services provided.
We can’t predict the future. But on a day to day level, there are certain concerns that we can expect to come up in the course of a given month or year.
In a divorce case, some of those questions are necessarily basic. But not everyone takes the time to consider the answers before opening divorce proceedings.
Do you know, for instance, who is going to live where?
Yours may be a situation where you need to get out of the house as soon as possible. Or your divorce attorney may advise you to maintain a position of strength by taking steps to remain in your house.
Do you know whether you have enough money to live on?
How much does it cost to run your household? If you aren’t regularly responsible for paying the bills, you may not know what your regular costs are for rent or mortgage, electricity, water, heat, and miscellaneous expenses like property maintenance. You’ll also need to have a strategy for paying them, whether that will be a savings account, your own credit, or regular employment.
Do you know what will happen to your kids?
If you have children, they represent the most important element to be considered in your divorce.
The most important priority is to make sure that you preserve your relationship with them. Make sure you spend time with them, and that you don’t treat them like pawns in your divorce proceedings. Seek the advice of a qualified custody attorney when beginning proceedings, and be sure to not leave any threatening messages or conduct yourself in a way that reflects on you poorly.