Going through a divorce is a life-changing, and sometimes traumatic experience. Or, it can also be liberating. Many times divorce is the best option for couples that are having some sort of difficulties. Divorces can happen for any number of reasons, and that can range from difficulties communicating, to being unable to make life-decisions together, and even result from abuse in a relationship. Whatever your reasons are behind getting a divorce, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Approximately 827,000 divorces happen every year, so keep this in mind when looking for the best advice when going through a divorce.
Getting the Help you Need
When going through a divorce, lots of thoughts may be going through your head. How long will this process last? Where can I get the best family law attorney? How will this affect my children? It’s important to know that there are many resources to get you the financial, legal, and supportive help you need. Talk to qualified professionals whenever seeking the best advice when going through a divorce. Or, a quick internet search can also lead you to some good results. Here are 15 tips you can use when going through a divorce, and we hope it’ll give you some reassurance, guidance, and comfort during this rough time.
1. Seek Mental Health Treatment
Though your first thought might be to seek legal help when looking for the best advice when going through a divorce, it could be best to start by seeking mental health help. A divorce can cause various emotions, ranging from depression, anger, and anxiety, and can even affect your children as well. When undergoing a divorce, make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to handle any type of stress that comes your way by seeking therapy, or simply talking to your primary care doctor for possible referrals and treatment options.
2. Seek Couples Therapy
For many couples, divorce might be the last option to consider after years of emotional struggles. For this reason, it might also benefit you and your partner to seek couples therapy before going forward with any divorce or legal separation. Though you might have already started the process to divorce, keep in mind that you can always change your mind and not sign off on any paperwork that finalizes your divorce. In addition, if you go through couples therapy and it changes you and your partner’s relationship, you can always rescind your divorce. If you change your mind soon after filing for divorce, you may be able to withdraw your divorce petition. Contact your local court clerk for information on this.
3. Gather all Police Reports
If you’re the victim of domestic abuse, some of the best advice when going through a divorce to follow is to keep all records of police reports and use them when going through a divorce process. Not only will contacting the authorities to help keep you safe in the case of physical abuse, but it can also help you with any custody battles you might face later on. As well as helping you win legal cases, proving you were the victim of domestic abuse can also help you win alimony in some states. For instance, in Texas, if the spouse being asked to pay alimony has committed domestic violence against the other spouse within two years of the divorce, as determined by a court, then this specific circumstance can grant you alimony.
4. Choose the Best Legal Representation
Going through a divorce can be a lengthy process. Not only will you have to find an attorney with adequate legal experience, but also one that is on your side. If it makes you feel more supported, you can certainly choose a lawyer that has been through the divorce process themselves, is the same gender as you, and can offer the best advice when going through a divorce. A lawyer that is familiar with the local courts, judges, and has stellar reviews by others can be a big help. Do note, however, that it’s inappropriate to view your lawyer as your emotional support or therapist. Not only will this hinder your case, but also add more stress to your attorney. Understand the difference between a lawyer and a therapist!
5. Be Civil at all Times
A piece of best advice when going through a divorce is simply to maintain civility at all times. Not only will an outburst lead to possible violence, but it can also be used against you in court. Custody Lawyers might be able to use any sort of emotional outburst you have against you, and can use this as leverage when asking for more visitation rights or custody rights. It’s important to always seek the help of local authorities to prevent any violence. For instance, if you have to go into your home to retrieve your belongings, make sure you have police on stand-by to observe what you take, and how you treat your ex-spouse. This can help protect you in the case that your spouse wants to lie about the way you behaved.
6. Do not Post on Social Media
During your divorce, you never want to believe that you are being targeted by your ex-spouse maliciously. However, whether it’s to get more alimony or more child support payments, your ex-spouse might be using whatever means possible to convince a judge you need to pay up extra, are an unfit parent, or a myriad of other things. It’s important, then, to understand that you should stop posting on social media at least until things cool down in the divorce process. Posting a picture of you enjoying a glass of wine, on vacation with your new partner, or any other host of things can potentially be used against you by your spouse. It’s not enough to just block them and their family either, as this can be seen negatively and add to tension in the divorce. If you are being harassed on social media by your partner, you should then keep these threatening or malicious messages, comments, and so on to be used in your divorce proceedings.
7. Attend all Legal Proceedings
Failure to attend a legal proceeding with your divorce lawyer could be costly. Failure to appear in divorce court legally means you have skipped a scheduled court date and have failed to notify the court. This can lead to you being charged with contempt of court, and possible a bench warrant for your arrest and a fine could be issued by a judge. Also, negotiations in court are important to attend, and failure to do so could lead to your spouse getting favored more by the court and getting more pieces of assets, and bigger alimony and child support checks. If you find yourself unable to attend because you don’t have a vehicle, this is not enough to convince a court. Utilize transport services to get you to court on time if need be.
8. Get your Life Organized
Some of the best advice when going through a divorce to get you moving ahead is to get your life organized ahead of time. If you were a stay-at-home mom, don’t think you might automatically get alimony, or that your alimony will be enough to support you. This is especially true if the divorce was caused by your abuse, infidelity, or even bad parenting. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to start looking at new jobs, new places to live, and even trying to go back to school to improve your life before your divorce is over. This will allow you to be financially independent.
9. Get All Financial Records
Unfortunately, when you divorce, not only will you be getting half of you and your spouse’s assets, but also possibly half of their debt. It’s not unheard of for divorced spouses to be stuck paying their partner’s school debt. In addition, if your partner took out credit cards that you are unaware of and maxed them out, you may also be held accountable if your name is on the bill. Get legal help in addition to the help from a financial expert, and gather all financial records early on in the divorce to help you avoid paying your partners debt.
10. Appraise your Home before Selling
It might be tempting to stay inside of your home and simply ask your ex-spouse to vacate. However, the best advice when going through a divorce might be to sell your home if you are unable to take over the new mortgage. A new mortgage on the home you’re staying in might be tougher to get, since it is now being financed with just a single person. It might be better to aim to sell your house fast with the help of a great real estate agent. More importantly, the appraiser will have a huge impact on how much your home is worth, how much it sells for, and how much you get. If you and your ex-spouse can’t decide on an appraiser, don’t simply give up! You can get a CMA from a different real estate agent, have a lawyer or court decide who to hire for the appraisal, or each spouse can hire their own appraiser and the court takes the average of the two.
11. Don’t Talk Bad about your Partner
A divorce is difficult, and this is especially true for children. It’s important to remember that your divorce is affecting their lives as well, and it’s not a good idea to bad-mouth your partner in front of your children. Not only can this lead to added tension, but can lead to a lifetime of trauma for your child.
12. Amend any Wills or Beneficiaries
Some of the best advice when going through a divorce is to amend any wills and beneficiaries immediately. Speak to an estate planning lawyer to help you amend your will and take your ex-spouse off any existing inheritance. If you’re in the military, and are divorcing while overseas, seek legal help near you to take your ex-spouse off any joint accounts, life insurance policies, and TSP or thrift-savings plans accounts as well.
13. Mediate your Divorce if Possible
Keeping your options open during your divorce can be the best advice when going through a divorce. It might be possible to mediate your divorce or simply have an uncontested divorce, wherein you and your spouse decide how to split everything evenly, and don’t have to go through the court systems to do so. This can help not only relieve tension and stress, but also make your divorce more amicable. If your partner cannot be found, or refuses to participate in a divorce proceeding, this can be considered a default divorce and can save you time, heartache and headache by finalizing a divorce in the absence of your partner. Consider different divorce options, and see which one fits well for you.
14. Work on your Credit Score
After a divorce, not only will you have to work on getting a new job, new house financing, and possibly moving to a new city, but it’s also important to work on your credit score. If you were a stay-at-home spouse and never had your name on any bills, or never financed anything under your name, you might have to start from scratch. However, it’s very possible to build your credit up to a 780 or better within a matter of 12 to 18 months. Consider getting a small credit card to pay for essentials like gas or groceries, and ensure you don’t miss any payments.
15. Remember that it Gets Better
The best advice when going through a divorce is to understand that things will get better. In time, and after your court proceedings are finalized, you are done dealing with your divorce law services, and the dust has settled, you will be able to see just how better things get. It’s important to have a good support system, keep up with therapy appointments, and simply enjoy the time you have to yourself, however foreign it might seem. Divorces occur to even the best of couples, and taking time to understand this and work on yourself, can help you grow into a better, more independent person.