Every year, there are around 827,000 divorces that occur. Getting a divorce can be difficult in so many ways. There are many things you’ll need to consider in order to navigate the situation in the best way possible. Here are tips containing the best advice for someone going through divorce to make it easier.
Decide What Type Of Divorce Is Best For You
The type of divorce you choose will depend on the state you live in and your unique situation. The most common type is a no-fault divorce, which you can file on your own or with a lawyer. There can also be a default divorce if a spouse can’t be found or doesn’t respond to being served with divorce papers. In a contested divorce, both parties battle it out in court to have a judge decide on how assets and other matters will be taken care of.
If you believe that you and your spouse can work out divorce terms outside of court, there are a couple of options you can consider. One is to hire a collaborative divorce lawyer to help you negotiate a settlement and submit all the paperwork. The other option is divorce mediation, where you meet with an arbitrator. This can be ideal if your budget is tight and you both can reach an agreement quickly and easily.
Choose The Right Divorce Lawyer
If you are unable to negotiate outside of court, then you’ll want to choose the best divorce attorney possible to represent you. The best advice for someone going through a divorce is to take your time and do your research carefully. Ask family and friends for recommendations and check online for reviews. You can check out websites like the Better Business Bureau to see if any of the divorce lawyers you’re considering have complaints from past clients.
Make a list of potential candidates and interview each one individually. During the interview process, ask about their experience in dealing with divorces like yours. Ask plenty of questions about the process and inquire about their fees. Some lawyers charge by the hour while others charge a flat fee and demand an upfront retainer. Get everything in writing before you sign any agreements.
How To Prepare For An Initial Interview
There are a few things you need to do to prepare for an initial interview with a divorce attorney. You should bring something you can take notes with such as a pen and paper or the note-taking app on your phone. You should also bring any documents that may be relevant to your case. You may also be asked to fill out questionnaires and other forms so that the lawyer can focus on all the relevant facts in the case.
Show up on time and dress like you are going to a job interview. Make sure you understand how much the initial consultation is and be prepared to pay that in full. Clarify what the next steps will be after the meeting and follow through on anything you’re asked to do. You may need to fill out additional documents or set up a follow-up appointment to proceed. The best advice for someone going through divorce is to ask the lawyer their preferred method of communication and keep in contact on a regular basis.
Write down any questions you may think of to ask before you arrive to make sure you don’t forget anything. Ask the lawyer how long they’ve been practicing divorce and family law. You may also want to know how long cases like yours take to resolve and what budget you should anticipate covering attorney fees.
Understand Family Law
It’s important to understand the way family law works in your state, especially if you have children. There are certain rights and responsibilities you have while going through a divorce. A family law attorney can explain these to you for the state and county in which you live. In certain states, couples must separate for a certain period of time before a divorce can be filed. Marital rights continue until the divorce agreement is finalized.
You won’t be able to sell any marital assets such as the house or car until the divorce is finalized. If one spouse makes more money, then the other may be eligible for spousal support during the separation. A court may determine that the higher-earning spouse is held responsible for the mortgage payment and this amount is counted as alimony. You’ll also need to determine how debts will be split. If you fail to comply with court orders, you can be subject to fines or jail time.
Consider Other Relevant Legal Issues
There may be other relevant legal services you may need to consider during your divorce. You will need to create and adhere to a child custody agreement that details visitation times and child support terms. You may be asked to prepare certain documents to determine child support and alimony payments and show proof of marital assets and debts. These documents include things such as bank statements, credit card bills, utility bills, mortgage and loan documents, and insurance policies.
You will also need to figure out how marital assets will be divided. If you and your spouse can’t agree on how they will be split, the decision will be placed in the hands of the judge. Other factors that are considered under family law are child support, visitation, and alimony. If you have children, you may want to consult with child support attorneys to learn what rights and responsibilities you have.
Figure Out Custody Matters
There are various types of child custody agreements. With sole physical custody, the children permanently stay with one parent while having visitation rights with the other parent. The most common type many judges prefer to typically award is joint physical custody, where both parents share equal time with their children.
Legal child custody refers to the right to make decisions concerning your children’s religious upbringing, education, and medical care. Third-party custody refers to family friends or relatives being awarded guardianship of the children in a divorce. Child custody lawyers can help you negotiate these matters and give the best advice for someone going through divorce.
Parents must follow the arranged visitation schedule. Trying to take the children away from the other parent without consent or refusing a visit can lead to fines or jail time. Certain situations where you can refuse a visitation include fear of abuse or neglect or the children don’t want to go with the non-custodial parent. Visitation can be highly contentious and complicated and interference with visitation rights can become a criminal offense. The best advice for someone going through divorce is to consult with a family law attorney.
Build Rapport With Your Lawyer
Building rapport with your lawyer is some of the best advice for someone going through a divorce. It can benefit you in numerous ways. By establishing trust, you’ll feel more comfortable with the divorce process. It will also help your lawyer better defend your case to make things go as smoothly as possible. You’ll get excellent customer service and any issues will most likely be positively resolved.
To build a good rapport with your lawyer, be honest in answering any questions you may be asked. Your lawyer will expect you to control your emotions during court hearings and come prepared and on time. You’ll want to be as cooperative as possible and follow the advice your lawyer gives. Pay your lawyer on time and communicate ahead of time if you can’t do so. There are things your lawyer can do to help you alleviate your financial situation but only if you’re upfront about it right away.
Pay attention to how the lawyer interacts with you. Does the lawyer seem more interested in your own goals or their own agenda? The best advice for someone going through a divorce is to seek out a lawyer who is invested in you. If you don’t feel comfortable, trust your gut and search for another attorney that may be better suited for you.
What To Expect From Your Lawyer
Your lawyer should provide you with a written agreement detailing all the terms and conditions of your lawyer-client relationship. Your divorce attorney should create a flexible strategy for your divorce that leaves room for any moves your spouse will make with their lawyer. The divorce attorney should explain any options you have and offer you advice on the best actions to take. They should also return any phone calls promptly within 24 hours and consult with you before any major actions are taken.
Make A Solid Plan After Your Court Date
Once your divorce is finalized, the best advice for someone going through divorce is to make a solid plan for the future ahead. Gather and file all your divorce paperwork from your attorney. Make an electronic copy of your divorce decree to use for acquiring health insurance and other benefits. You may also want to find your marriage license so you can change your name. You may also want to change your name on your driver’s license and social security card.
It’s also a good idea to update your will and insurance policies and name new beneficiaries. Open a new bank account and work on building up your credit as a single person. You may also want to find a good therapist to help you cope and release with all the emotional baggage of your divorce. Change the passwords for all your online accounts and email addresses. Divide all the marital property as dictated by the divorce decree and transfer or change any relevant titles.
You may also want to make sure that your name is removed from any loans or debts that you’re no longer responsible for. You may want to consider working with a financial planner to develop a budget and make investment decisions for your retirement. You may also need to make plans to rent an apartment or buy a house.
Help Your Kids Cope With The Divorce
Divorce can have a significant impact on your children. There are many things you can do to help you kids cope with the divorce. The best advice for someone going through divorce is to try to keep any legal talk or conflict away from your children. Try to minimize any disruptions and keep your opinions of the other parent to yourself. Encourage children to share their feelings.
Some of the best advice for someone going through divorce is to seek professional help from support groups and online resources. A therapist or counselor can help your child process their emotions. Watch for any behavioral changes that can signify a serious problem, such as changes in sleep and eating patterns, difficulties at school, and defiance or isolation. Your child will also need to adjust to their new living situation that may include different rules for each household. Try to be as patient as possible and give them the support that they need.
Put your child’s best interest first and work to help them feel secure. Do your best to work with your ex to make co-parenting decisions. If there is conflict, be a role model on handling it in a calm and rational way. Try to work together to keep things as consistent as possible between both households. This includes rules, discipline methods, and school and sleep schedules. The best advice for someone going through divorce is to try to make transitions between visitations easier by keeping things low key and giving your child space to adjust.
The best advice for someone going through divorce is to remain as calm as possible. Avoid making emotional decisions that can negatively impact your future. Do your best to try to work out an agreement with your spouse so that you can both move on with your lives as soon as possible. Going through a divorce can be hard on so many levels, but following these tips will help it go smoother for everyone involved. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re fully prepared for your new journey ahead.