How to Mentally and Legally Prepare for a Divorce
It takes time and effort to build a relationship and merge two lives together. Likewise, it takes time and effort to change that relationship, prepare for a divorce, and untangle those lives. While divorcing couples understandably want to move forward quickly, you may regret rushing through the process. Because our team has over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, we can help you prepare both mentally and legally for a divorce.
Make a Financial and Time Management Plan
Combining your life with someone else’s often means sharing your income, parental responsibilities, and household tasks. When you get a divorce, these shared responsibilities can become more difficult to keep up with. You should work with legal and financial professionals to discuss your rights, including the availability of spousal maintenance and child support, and develop a plan that addresses the following during your divorce:
- Utilities, property taxes, and home insurance premiums
- Childcare expenses, including babysitting, transportation costs, school fees, and extracurricular activities
- Food and meal prep for kids
- Cleaning and household maintenance
- Life, health, disability, and dental insurance
- Pet care
- Special events involving adult and minor children (i.e. weddings, significant birthdays, religious ceremonies, and graduations)
In some situations, one party may need to downsize, obtain a new job, or request rehabilitative alimony to continue their education. Estimating your future needs before entering divorce litigation can help you transition after your marriage is dissolved.
Consider Separation with a Negotiated Temporary Order
People are often afraid of moving out of the home prior to a contract that lays out their individual rights and responsibilities. Although an uncontested divorce sounds nice in relation to working through things amicably, an uncontested divorce cannot guarantee you any rights until the Separation Agreement is approved by a judge. We have seen a number of cases where people agree to terms within mediation working toward an uncontested divorce only to have one spouse suddenly change their mind about one or more issues, even if one person has already relied on the unofficial agreements to his or her detriment.
Having a contested divorce filed and either mediating or negotiating a “trial” agreement that is entered with the Court as a temporary order can help the couple sometimes see what works and what doesn’t before entering into a long-term agreement as is done within the final Separation (or Divorce) Agreement. There are pro’s and con’s, so ensure you speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney who can help you understand why this may or may not be best in your specific situation. This flexibility, however, can sometimes give spouses time to develop working parenting and post-divorce plans before asking the judge to issue a final divorce decree that becomes harder to modify in the future.
Seek Professional Counseling and Support from Family
When mentally preparing for a divorce, it is important to consider the emotional toll this process may have. Many couples suffer emotional pain prior to, during, and after ending a marriage. As a result, a great investment in your future may be to seek additional mental health support from a professional who can help you move forward as quickly as possible with your life while you learn from your past mistakes so they are not repeated in the future. If you do not have enough money in order to obtain these types of services, it may be possible to seek additional financial support from your spouse during the divorce litigation to enable you to take advantage of these types of services.
Additionally, being single does not mean being alone, although we understand why it feels like that sometimes. We all need help from friends and family at some point and going through the end of the marriage will put you in a situation where you could really use the support of those closest to you. Sit down with your loved ones and tell them the truth about your divorce and anticipated struggles. Whether you need to move in with a loved one, ask for a part-time job, or use a friend’s babysitting services, newly divorced individuals commonly need help.
That being said, be wary of the unwarranted advice. Just because something happened one way in someone else’s divorce does not mean that it is going to happen in yours. The outcome of your case is very dependent on both you and your spouse, the potential complexities of your particular situation, the judge you are assigned to, and even the attorneys each of you hire. Never mind what may be going on outside of anyone’s control – such as the Covid-19 pandemic that took everyone by surprise and caused the court process to shut down for a period of time, which was incredibly frustrating to many people.
Retain a Compassionate Divorce Attorney
To legally prepare for a divorce, finding the right attorney who can handle the specifics of your case and fight for your best interests is crucial. Qualified legal professionals can help you understand your rights during and after divorce, including:
- Electing fault v. no-fault divorce
- Spousal support (alimony)
- Child support
- Child custody and visitation rights
- Property distribution
Our family lawyers understand that divorce is not a typical legal “transaction.” It involves overcoming challenges and complicated family issues that can be made easier with the professional help and guidance of an attorney.
Learn More about Mentally and Legally Preparing for a Divorce
Understanding how to mentally and legally prepare for a divorce may require the advice of the attorneys at O’Connor Family Law. Our team can provide the insight and guidance you need during this difficult transition. To get help with your divorce case, call today.