Every year, there are approximately 827,000 divorces across the United States. The process can be emotionally and financially painful. To navigate it successfully, you may need some sound advice to help you get through. Advice from your family and friends may do you more harm than good. You may want to consider acquiring advice from experienced professionals to help you avoid any costly mistakes. Here are some tips and tricks for surviving your divorce.
Hire a Lawyer
Hiring a divorce attorney can be highly beneficial to surviving your divorce. You and your spouse are likely to have disagreements on the division of property, financial assets, and who will take care of the children. A mediation attorney can help you negotiate these issues and reach a fair compromise for both sides. Consult with several attorneys before selecting the one you feel most comfortable with.
Research attorneys carefully before scheduling a consultation. Check online reviews and websites for complaints from previous clients. You can also ask family and friends for recommendations. During consultations, ask about the experience the lawyer has with cases like yours and get references. Ask how long the divorce proceedings might take and what their fees are. This will help you to determine if hiring a lawyer is financially feasible.
Be Wary of Hidden Costs
During a divorce, a lawyer may pay fees to third parties such as court costs, barrister fees, and expert assessments. When hiring a lawyer, get a quote on disbursements and when they would apply. Many law firms give estimates that include the costs for the amount of work they’ll do, but this makes it difficult to compare costs with other attorneys. Try to get individual costs in writing. Make sure you get a clear understanding of whether you’re receiving a fixed cost quote or an estimate before signing a contract agreement.
Communicate With Your Lawyer
Regular communication with your lawyer is crucial for surviving your divorce. Let the attorney know what result you’re seeking from the divorce and come up with a plan for decision making during the process. Breakdowns in communication are one of the biggest reasons why divorce goes wrong. You need to clearly communicate your expectations so the lawyer can settle the issues properly. Your lawyer should also provide you with regular updates on the case and ask for your input during key decisions.
Know Your Numbers
Divorce can get expensive. The average divorce can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 or more for family law attorneys and court fees, depending on the circumstances. Surviving your divorce financially can be made easier with mediation or negotiation. If you can settle issues with your spouse amicably, a divorce can cost $500 or less. Saving money can help you with surviving your divorce so you can use it to pay for the additional expenses you’ll incur building your new life.
Consider Divorce Mediation
If you and your spouse can’t afford attorneys to represent you during the divorce, you may want to consider mediation services. You’ll want to find an experienced mediator, as they’re typically not required to hold certifications or licenses. If you and your spouse are in the middle of a heated divorce, you may want to consider a civil litigation lawyer to help mediate.
Check Out Legal Document Preparers
If you plan on filing for divorce yourself without a lawyer, you may want to check out legal document preparers. These businesses will prepare the paperwork for your uncontested divorce and file them with the court. The fees for these services can range anywhere from $175 to $700, depending on your unique situation. Do your research on these legal document preparers ahead of time because the reliability and quality can vary.
You can also find documentation preparation services online. You simply answer a few questions and the documents can be mailed or emailed to you within a few days. If you choose these web-based divorce services, you’ll be expected to file the documents with the court yourself. The fees for online document preparation can cost between $200 to $500, depending on the provider and how fast the documents are prepared.
Make a List of Issues
Making a list of all the issues you may need to address is highly beneficial for surviving your divorce. Consider what you’d like to achieve and why. Prioritize the items on this list from most to least important. When it comes to negotiating with your spouse, this list can help you focus on the highest priorities and provide leverage for compromise. It will also help you remember everything so you can avoid future costly mistakes.
Understand the Division of Property
Courts usually divide marital property based on what contributions were made during the marriage and the welfare of the children. Other factors that may be considered include the economic status of both parties before the marriage occurred and the length of the marriage. Items that don’t have titles attached to them are considered the property of the person who paid for it unless it was a gift. If an item was purchased using money from a joint account, it’s considered to be owned by both spouses. Common law marriages may have different exceptions.
All marital items will be valued at what they were worth before the marriage and what they’re worth on the date of separation. These evaluations will help the courts to determine an equalization payment. This payment is used in situations where one spouse is better off financially than the other to help make the division of property fair. The marital home is considered to be owned by both spouses and may be divided by selling the home or splitting assets.
Keep Emotions Under Control
It’s already painful enough surviving your divorce without letting your emotions get in the way. Staying calm during disagreements can help diffuse a heated situation and prevent you from making expensive mistakes. A cordial divorce also helps the children cope emotionally. If you can negotiate peacefully, you may be able to save money on lawyer fees.
Sell Your Rings
Selling your engagement and wedding rings can help you with surviving your divorce by removing a painful reminder of the broken relationship. It can also help you pay for a divorce lawyer. You may be able to receive top dollar for the diamond burnishing on your ring, depending on who you sell it to. Make sure you find a reputable gold buyer by researching them carefully online.
Before selling your wedding and engagement rings, be sure to double-check the laws of your state. Your rings can be considered conditional gifts and may need to be returned to your spouse under certain circumstances. If there was infidelity or the marriage lasted less than a few days, the spouse can argue that they’re entitled to them. You may also not want to sell your rings if they’re expensive and can be used as a bargaining chip during the divorce proceedings.
Handle Your Finances
One of the toughest things about surviving your divorce is handling your finances. You and your spouse may still have joint accounts together. You may want to consider separating yourself from them immediately. Open new financial and credit accounts in your name so you can start building credit before your divorce is finalized. You may also want to contact your employer and insurance provider to update your beneficiary information on insurance policies. Consider purchasing disability insurance if you haven’t done so already.
The cost of hiring family law attorney services may have taken a negative hit to your finances. You may want to consider a consultation with a financial advisor to strategize a financial plan for moving forward. Make sure to contact credit reporting agencies once your divorce is finalized to update your records. Avoid spontaneous spending and track your spouse’s activity with the marital funds during the divorce process.
Create a Budget
Surviving your divorce can be made easier by creating a budget. You’ll need to know how much you’ll need for essential and discretionary expenses while paying for an attorney. You can review past bank and credit card statements to get an idea of what you spend on a monthly basis. You may also want to factor in additional expenses you may occur after your divorces such as rent or a mortgage payment.
Getting organized is crucial for surviving your divorce. You’ll be expected to make numerous decisions that will impact your future. Gathering all your financial records in one place can help you significantly in your divorce negotiations. Your lawyer can assist you in figuring out all the documents you’ll need during your divorce. You can begin your organization efforts by working with your spouse to create a list of all the assets and liabilities you have together.
You may want to gather certain financial records such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and other financial account documents. This will help you when it comes to dividing assets. Determine who will be held responsible for any debts following the divorce and get those agreements in writing. You may want to consider a postnuptial agreement to finalize any agreements, especially if you’re handling the divorce without a lawyer.
Buying a Home
While surviving your divorce, you’ll need to figure out where you’re going to live once the process is over. If you’re planning on buying a home, look for a reputable realtor and mortgage broker to assist you. You may also want to consider asking for advice on selling your existing home. Marital property is typically sold during a divorce and the proceeds are split between you and your spouse.
Help Children Cope
Your children will need support while surviving your divorce. Avoid involving your children in the divorce and speaking negatively about your spouse in front of them. How well you work with your spouse in matters involving the children is a factor courts will consider when deciding custody. Work with your spouse ahead of time to discuss visitation schedules and how school and medical decisions will be handled.
Encourage your children to express their feelings about the divorce. You may also want to consider therapy to help your child in surviving your divorce. Make sure your child knows that they’re loved by both parents and the marriage breakdown wasn’t their fault. Keep visitation transitions as peaceful as possible and avoid questioning about activities in your ex-spouse’s home. Give your child the room and space to heal and adapt to all the new changes.
Take Care of Yourself
Surviving your divorce can be a tumultuous experience physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can be easy to forget about self-care while your focus is on pressing issues of survival. Protect your mental health by reaching out to a therapist to help you cope.
Make sure to exercise and eat right to maintain your strength. Reach out to family and friends for support. Find hobbies that can help distract you from the painful process. Take time to grieve the loss of your marriage and to get to know yourself again. You may want to consider holding off on dating during and after your divorce to avoid adding more stress to your situation.
Create a New Estate Plan
As you’re surviving your divorce, you’ll need to make plans for your life as a single adult. You may want to strongly consider setting up financial and health care powers of attorney. These documents designate a person that can speak on your behalf in the event you can’t do it for yourself. It will also ensure a guardian is in place for your children in case of your death. Remove your spouse from any legal documents and update your will and any trusts you own.
Surviving your divorce can be tough, but it will get easier over time. By following these tips and tricks for getting through, you’ll be able to face your new life with confidence and peace of mind. Take your time when making decisions and don’t let your emotions get in the way. You can get through this painful time by taking steps to protect yourself and focusing on your goals for the future.