Getting a Divorce
The reality of marriage and the day-to-day struggles lead some couples to pursue divorce. Many times, divorce simply brings different challenges. Before you make that final decision, it’s important to consider all divorce entails.
Thinking It Through
If you are contemplating a divorce you should ask yourself, and your spouse if possible, some potentially difficult questions. Both introspection and interpersonal communication with your spouse are key when evaluating the severity of a divorce. Use the following ideas to springboard these critical conversations.
Walking Through a Divorce
The divorce process varies by state. Usually one person is required to file a petition for divorce. After filing, the other party is formally served divorce papers. A limited amount of time is allowed for said party to respond in writing. Failure to do so may find the served spouse in default. When a party is in default, the case will continue without them, and the individual may lose their rights and ability to participate in the case.
Many states allow “no fault” divorces, meaning that one spouse did not necessarily wrong the other. No specific reasons need be offered either. Many couples simply claim “irreconcilable differences.”
Whether your divorce proceedings are emotionally-charged or civil, it’s important to have someone advocating for you. When looking to hire an attorney, consider interviewing at least three divorce attorneys to find one that fits your comfort level. A minimum of five years of experience practicing family and divorce law is highly beneficial. Look for a competent attorney, who is comfortable presenting before a judge if needed. In cases of abuse or domestic violence, a divorce lawyer can offer direction toward support agencies during the separation period.
A divorce attorney will meet with their client before drafting the divorce petition. Financial records, property, assets, and child custody/support will be discussed thoroughly. Your legal counsel will develop a plan for distribution of assets between both parties.
Not all divorce proceedings go to trial. Lawyers often assist couples in communication, negotiations, and other collaborative divorce techniques. If no agreements can be made, a case may proceed to trial where a judge will determine the outcome.
Starting over financially or separating joint accounts may seem daunting. Consider the following financial advice to begin your next life chapter.
If you or your spouse are unable or unwilling to continue the marriage, be prepared to make smart choices. Should your divorce proceedings go into litigation, actions and/or poor decisions will be scrutinized. Avoid gregarious partying, dating, and other reckless choices. Most certainly remember, if children are involved, this divorce will undoubtedly affect the whole family. Use this experience to draw closer with your children by modeling common courtesy, maturity, wisdom, and kindness.