Divorce isn’t an easy process to go through, both emotionally and legally. Almost 50% of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce or separation. While it may be common, divorce can be a confusing process for the parties involved. There are a lot of things to figure out, after all. Who gets what assets? Who gets custody of the kids? Will you sell the house the two of you shared?
There’s a lot of legal things to figure out, which is why it’s important you seek the right help. Here are 10 tips for getting help dealing with divorce, and how getting the right help can make all the difference during the divorce proceedings.
Find a Good Lawyer
The first thing you should do to get help dealing with divorce is to find a good divorce lawyer. Your lawyer will help you through the legal process and answer any questions you have. There are a lot of moving parts on the legal side of divorce, so it’s important to find a lawyer who can properly advise you every step of the way.
Don’t just hire the first lawyer you come across, though. Do your research and find the right lawyer for you. Figure out how these lawyers communicate with their clients, what their standard procedure is when dealing with divorce clients, and what results they got for their clients. It’s also important to know how they communicate in the court room and with other lawyers. If they come off as stand-offish, it could hurt negotiations with your ex-spouse. Be crystal clear on what your expectations are in terms of communication and expectations. The more you and your lawyer are on the same page, the better.
Get All The Facts Straight
When seeking help dealing with divorce, make sure you have all your facts straight so you can present them to your legal counsel. Tell them the facts surrounding your marriage and why it is you’re getting divorced. Be clear about the things you need to do, such as listing a house, separating your finances, and setting up child support or spousal support payments.
The more you tell your lawyer, the better. They’ll help you prioritize your to-do list and determine what your next steps should be. It’s also important to tell your lawyer if there are any issues that can come up during proceedings. The more honest you are, the better you and your legal team can prepare.
Inventory Your Assets
When you’re getting a divorce, you must inventory all the assets you have. You likely have shared assets with your soon-to-be ex spouse, such as properties and cars. You could even count furniture and jewelry as assets. Record what assets you shared in your marriage so your lawyer can start to determine what you’re entitled to. You should also disclose what personal assets you have. You may have investments that are solely in your name, but those assets could be brought up during proceedings. Tell your lawyer about these assets so they aren’t surprised if they come up during the divorce process.
While you’re inventorying your assets, you may also want to restructure your will. Your spouse may have been a beneficiary, but if you’re getting divorced, you may want to change that. Reach out to an estate planning lawyer to restructure your plans and figure out who gets what in your will. If you wish to keep your spouse in the will, talk to your lawyer about it. That could work in your favor during proceedings, but it’s best to discuss that strategy with your legal counsel.
Ask About Custody Arrangements
There’s a lot of legal situations to consider when you need help dealing with divorce. Those legal situations can get complicated if you have children with your ex. You and your ex will have to come up with a custody agreement that works for yourselves and your children. Divorce can be painful for children, and it can be even more painful if there’s a big custody battle going on between their parents.
For the sake of civility, ask your lawyer to discuss a custody agreement that works for your whole family. Couples getting divorced may seek joint legal custody of their kids, which means in the eyes of the law, they have equal custody rights. However, you’ll need to decide if you want to seek joint physical custody, which means your children would live with each parent half the time. Sometimes, divorcing couples will decide to let one parent have sole physical custody so their children live in one place. That depends on a number of factors though, so it’s best to contact family law attorneys to get advice on what to do.
Remember that custody arrangements should be made based on your children’s best interest. If there is a parent who has displayed questionable behavior in the past, their ability to share custody may be compromised. If you or your former spouse have displayed this kind of behavior, tell your lawyer so they can make a plan to address the situation.
Get Your Finances In Order
When getting help dealing with divorce, you have to get your finances in order. Catalog all the things you have that add to your wealth. This includes stocks, real estate dealings, and savings accounts. Getting a divorce can get expensive, especially if the process is drawn out. You should keep an eye on your finances and ensure you have the means to pay for your legal representation.
It’s also important to catalog your finances so you know what you’ll have after your divorce. If you share finances with your spouse, you’ll likely split those finances and your shared assets. However, keep in mind that their contribution to your financial situation will go away after the divorce is final (unless they pay you spousal support). You have to plan your life around the finances you solely bring in going forward. If you can no longer afford the life you’re used to living, you can either cut costs or look for a way to increase your cash flow.
If your ex-spouse is listed as a guardian of your finances, you may want to revoke that status after your divorce is final. Seek guidance from a guardianship attorney on whether this is the best move for you and who you’d like to have guardianship instead.
Evaluate Your Joint Debt
Many married couples share debt. When you get divorced, that debt doesn’t go away. When you need help dealing with divorce, tell your law team about the debt you share with your ex. In divorce cases, judges will likely split the debt between the two of you. It’s important for your lawyer to know how much debt you two shared while married. This knowledge will help them in discussions and proceedings.
In some cases, judges will determine who pays what debt based on who brought it to the marriage. So, if you brought $50,000 in debt to the marriage, but your spouse brought in $15,000, a judge may rule that you’re only responsible for paying the $50,000 in debt you contributed. This is on a case-by-case basis, so be sure to talk to your lawyer about if this could apply to your situation. You could also consult debt negotiation lawyers to get their advice on how to proceed with your marital debt.
Decide What Happens To The House
If you and your ex share a home, you must decide what happens to it once you get divorced. If one of you is going to keep it, who gets it? And will the person who gets the house have to pay the one who doesn’t get it? Or, will you sell the home and split the money?
You and your ex have a number of options when it comes to selling your house. Searching “how to sell my house in a divorce” on the internet may come up with conflicting advice, so it’s best to talk to your lawyer about your options. You can also ask local realtors about their experience with selling homes of divorced couples. They could offer advice, help you sell your home, and even help you find a new one.
Let Your Lawyers Do The Communicating
Getting help dealing with divorce means you’re hiring someone to help you with all the legal aspects. You may be tempted to talk about legal proceedings with your ex, however your communication with them could complicate matters. Plus, if you aren’t on good terms with your ex, things could get hostile when discussing the legal aspects of your divorce.
That’s why it’s best to talk about the legal aspects of your divorce through your lawyers. Have them communicate with one another regarding assets, custody agreements, and anything that involves the conditions of your divorce. The more your lawyers do the talking, the smoother your divorce will go in the eyes of the law. If you do want to communicate with your ex on your own, understand that it comes with risks. Consult with your lawyer before you do any communicating, though. They may advise you to avoid talking about certain things.
Understand Your Rights
There’s a reason you’re seeking help dealing with divorce. Divorce is a process that can get complicated quickly. This is why it’s important to understand your rights. You may have certain rights pertaining to child custody, spousal support, and property ownership throughout the divorce proceedings. You have to know about your rights so you can know what you can and cannot have access to. You should know what finances you can access and when you can see your children.
It’s also important to know what you can’t do throughout your divorce proceedings. Your lawyer may advise against international traveling, depending on your situation. They may also advise against acquiring new assets. Be sure you’re crystal clear on what your rights are throughout the divorce, and be aware of what your lawyer advises against.
Find a Way To De-Stress
Getting help dealing with divorce can be stressful. Finding the right lawyer, figuring out new living arrangements, hiring moving services to help you get your things out, and discussing the impending changes with your family can take its toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. That’s why you should find ways to de-stress when you’re going through a divorce. You can exercise, take up a new hobby, or start reading a new book.
You can also start seeing a therapist if you need someone to talk to. Getting a divorce causes your life to change significantly. Everything you’ve come to know over the course of your marriage will be over. This big change can cause you to feel a number of emotions, including anger, sadness, and guilt. It’s important to know that you can talk to someone about these emotions so you can properly process them. Talking about your divorce and how it makes you feel can help you reduce stress and properly process your feelings.
There are a lot of ways you can get help dealing with divorce. From the legal side of things, consulting a lawyer is key. Get a lawyer who will advocate for you and have your best interest at heart. Make sure you have your assets in order and that you know your rights. If you have children, make sure you keep them in mind and make the best decisions for them as well.
Also, don’t forget to make time for yourself during this time. Divorce is never easy to navigate. You may be feeling a lot of emotions you’ve never felt before and are unsure of what the future holds. It’s normal to want to take some time to sort through your emotions. You can also talk to a therapist or a counselor about your situation and talk through your emotions. You can also create a support system made of friends and family. Divorce isn’t an easy process, but you will get through it. The process will come to an end, and afterward, you can move on to the next chapter of your life.