Going through a legal separation or divorce can be a complicated process, especially when all those emotions are on a high. Divorce is without a doubt, an overwhelming ordeal. But, this post will help break it down for you. If you are deciding to divorce your spouse or are facing divorce proceeding because your partner wants to end the marriage, then you might want to know what first steps need to be taken to get through this difficult time as quickly and amicably as possible.
When you know the steps that need to be taken up-front, your entire divorce process can be more peaceful, drama-free and fair. This post looks at what a good family law attorney should tell clients about divorce. The insights will help prepare you for divorce.
Overall Plan/ Strategy
The first thing that a good family law attorney will tell his/ her clients is that an overall plan needs to be in place. It can even mean just meeting with your partner’s lawyer within the next week to settle the case, or to have documents drawn up within that period before the meeting commences. An overall plan is vital. The family law attorney should ask you what your end goal is and it is on this basis that the overall strategy will be developed. Having a defined plan can make the divorce less stressful so that you can get done with it and move on with your life.
The plan might be to make an immediate request for supporting you or your children by demanding financial compensation or monthly allowance to ensure that the case is ready for trial. The lawyer will provide you with an idea of the number of scenarios that could occur as the result depends on what the other side wants.
Sometimes, when you are planning for a divorce, you simply need a second opinion on what to do. The family law attorney should provide you with an unbiased second opinion from which you can decide which course of action you should take. Since divorce is an extremely sensitive matter, it is wise to seek a second opinion.
A divorce can be a long process, especially when there are kids involved. The lawyer should provide a direction of where the case is going. You should know what to expect and at least the most probable action. Child custody, visitation schedules, child support payments and more take time. A good lawyer will inform you of the time, it would take for a decision to be taken by the judge.
A good family law attorney should tell clients to demand all financial documents from their spouse or those that are in their partner’s possession early on, in the case. It allows the lawyer to determine what there is to divide between you and your spouse. Moreover, if you or your partner have a pension or employee benefits, then the lawyer should ask for a copy of the documents and the account statements. The terms of the pension, employee benefits and other financial assets would be carefully gone over by the lawyer to determine the best course of action in favor of your interests.
Requirement for Expert
If there is a need for an expert to be involved in the case, then your lawyer should inform you of such. For instance, if your wife or husband was having multiple affairs behind your back, then you will need an expert to gather evidence. It will help improve the outcome of the decision in your favor. Moreover, experts might be needed to evaluate or estimate the value of your or your partner’s properties, business or any other assets. A professional business appraiser or forensic accountant might need to be hired. In some cases, it is also possible for the judge to appoint an expert on your behalf.
Discuss a More Peaceful Divorce Option
There are plenty of choices when it comes to divorce. Either you can litigate the divorce in court or you can do it on your own. It is possible to collaborate with people to intervene in the process of getting a divorce such as a divorce mediator. Whatever the option, the attorney should help point you in the right direction. The lawyer will help you choose the most peaceful divorce option if possible.
The attorney should tell you to get organized. During the divorce, you will have to make many important decisions that affect you and your children’s lives for years to come. This is why it is vital to get more organized. The better the quality of your negotiations, the better the chances of reaching a decision that you desire.
When you choose a competent attorney, he/ she should guide you through the proceedings and take you through the discovery process. It will help you financially and emotionally prepare for the divorce negotiations. Advanced financial planning might also be needed before you start the divorce process. It can help your case in a significant way.
Work with your partner to write a list of all the assets and debts that are owed. Gather copies of all the financial records such as bank account statements, payslips, state and federal tax returns, brokerage accounts, car loan statements, mortgage statements, retirement accounts, insurance policies, and credit card statements.
The lawyer will tell and help you create a martial budget. It will provide you with an understanding of all the current monthly expenses of living with your partner and the projected monthly expenses when you are living in separate households and are divorced. Always start the negotiations with the help of a qualified professional.
A good family law attorney should tell you about your reality. It can be overwhelming dealing with a divorce and you might be tempted to crawl into your bed, pretending everything is fine. However, it is important for you to be aware of the situation and to act accordingly. Do not make the mistake of being a passive observer of your divorce. Instead, you need to take responsibility and control the process. Listen to the divorce professional, so that you can make responsible decisions that affect you, your spouse and your kids.
The lawyer will advise you to play an active role in the divorce process, even if you are not the one who has initiated the divorce. It will help you reach a better settlement with your spouse and take less time.
Help You Get Support
There are various reasons why one might seek divorce. One of these reasons could be because of abuse. Despite the progress in society, there are still cases where husbands beat their wives. A good family law attorney should offer the divorce support that you need to ensure that your safety is maintained. There is no need to isolate yourself. The lawyer should ensure that you feel heard and leverage what you have been through to create a strategy that works in your and your children’s favor. However, you must control your emotions and prepare yourself for the divorce proceedings. Approach them with a level head.
Divorce is difficult and it makes one act irrationally. But, no matter how betrayed or angry you might feel, do not let your emotions get in the way of what is best for you or your children. Always remain honest and never lie because it could be used against you.
Resist the urge to vent details of your divorce and stay off social media. There is no need to badmouth your spouse to family members, even if they have badmouthed you. Bite your tongue and rise above your spouse. Take a deep breath or more and be the bigger person. This single moment does not define your life or who you are.
Focus on yourself and take care of your emotional, mental and spiritual needs to ensure that you are in a good position to make the right decisions that affect your future. The divorce should not ruin your life. You need to ensure that it does not impact your life. The divorce lawyer should also recommend a good therapist if you need one to make sure that you are in the right state of mind to proceed with the divorce.
Help You Focus on the Big Picture
The attorney should not just help you with the legal process but should help you focus on the big picture. The decisions that you make will inevitably affect you and your children for years to come. There is no need to fight over semantics just to prove a point. The truth is that nobody wins in a divorce. It is not about winning or losing, but it is about divorcing amicably to achieve a decision that suits you.
How to Navigate Divorce Legally
To navigate the divorce legally, you need to know what you should do during the divorce process and what you should not.
What To Do During Divorce
- Cooperate with your ex-spouse and be reasonable. There is no need to be bitter. When you make reasonable compromises, they yield better and quick results in a divorce case.
- Do not force your kids to pick sides. Support your children throughout the divorce process. It is always the hardest for them.
- Let your partner know where and when you would be spending time with the kids while things work out i.e. the permanent custody arrangement. Do not make the mistake of running away with the kids because it would not look good during the visitation or custody hearings.
- Make sure to fully disclose all the assets and properties that you own. A divorce decree can be thrown out based on financial deception. It would only lead to a decision that is not in your favor.
- Always know your options. It is possible to be eligible for non-divorce alternatives such as legal separation, annulment or summary dissolution.
- Do your research and ask your lawyer about everything such as divorce trails, out-of-court settlements, or alternative dispute resolutions to ensure that you are prepared.
- Remember that your attorney works for you and if you feel that something does not make sense, you can always ask him/ her. The attorney needs to help you understand every single detail of the divorce process.
What Not To Do During Divorce
- Never lose your cool. It does not matter how frustrated you might feel because if you lash out at your children or ex, it would only make matters worse.
- Until the divorce is final, do not make any plans on moving to another state or country to take up a job. It might be used against you. Therefore, do not make such drastic plans.
- Do not violate any visitation arrangements or temporary custody. It can make it more difficult to get visitation rights or custody of your children.
- Do not hide your property by giving it away to relatives or friends and arrange to get it back later. It could lead to adverse consequences.
- There is no need to go through a divorce alone. Divorce is complicated and a good family law attorney will ensure that your interests are protected.
Hire Experienced Attorneys That Know How to Navigate the Divorce Process
Divorce can be extremely difficult, especially if it is your first divorce. Getting an experienced attorney such as St. Mary’s County, MD Family Law Attorney can make a huge difference. The attorney will help you navigate the divorce legally. You must get the help you need by reaching out to them. Discuss your situation and get the legal advice you need to make the right decision. When you hire an experienced attorney who knows how to navigate the divorce process, the chances of an agreement in your favor increase significantly. A professional family law attorney is experienced in dealing with divorce litigations and will be able to guide you in the best manner possible.