How to Prepare for a Divorce
Divorce is challenging for all parties involved. Children are innocent bystanders who are put in the awkward position of living with one parent while having limited or no visitation with the other parent. Divorce is such an emotional experience that it can be difficult to think or act productively. But, let’s help you prepare for divorce both emotionally and financially so we can set you up in the best position to move on positively in your life.
Get Yourself Organized
Regardless of how you plan to divorce, whether that be through litigation or mediation, it pays to have the proper documents in order for negotiations. Have these documents in hand:
- Most Recent Taxes
- Bank Account Statements
- Brokerage Accounts Statements
- Credit Card Statements
- Insurance Policies
- Retirements Accounts
- Mortgage Statements
- Car Loan Statements
Once you have those documents, start creating a budget, so you have an understanding of your current monthly living expenses. Also, create a projected monthly living expense, so you know your budget after you’re divorced and living separately.
Take Control of the Situation
When you get yourself organized, it’s time to call a lawyer who can help formulate a plan to assist you in obtaining what is fairly owed to you. It’s not wise to start negotiating without a lawyer in your corner. We always tell our clients that this is your divorce, don’t be a passive observer.
Instead, be prepared to make your own decisions. It’s our job at Verhaeghe Law Office to lay out your options while having your best interests at heart. When you’re active, you’ll reach a better settlement, it’ll take less time, and it’ll be a less stressful experience.
Keep Lines of Communications Open
Even though it can be challenging when you speak to your spouse, it’s best to think of them as the judge. When presenting your wishes, be respectful and assertive, not manipulative or aggressive. By being cordial throughout the proceedings, you’ll likely have more successful negotiations.
That said, put past problems behind you and focus on the future. If you couldn’t solve the issues during your marriage, you won’t fix them during a divorce. Also, the person who initiates the divorce usually has time on their side. They have had time to move on mentally and emotionally, while the spouse who receives the papers will be shocked. Before it gets to this point, set aside time to talk with your spouse before they’re handed papers. Regardless of the past, being respectful now can go a long way.
What About The Children?
Your children are a crucial part of both you and your spouse’s lives, so it’s never wise to say anything negative about the other person in front of your children. This puts them in the impossible position of feeling guilt, divided loyalties, and fear of showing love toward the parent being ridiculed. Save it for an adult with an empathic ear.
A divorce where both sides can come to an agreement that’s best for all parties involved is an enormous gift for children. We know this is not always the case, but it’s a goal that both parties should strive for.
Factors Judges Consider When Deciding Parental Arrangements
According to the Department of Justice, judges will look at all of the circumstances of a particular child and determine what’s in the child’s best interests, including:
- The child’s age and needs
- The child’s views and preferences
- The relationship that the child has with each parent
- Any care arrangements that existed before the separation
- The child’s relationship with siblings, grandparents and other important people
- The ability of each parent to care for the child
- The parents’ ability to communicate and co-operate on issues concerning the child
- The presence or risk of family violence and its impact on parenting abilities or the child’s well-being
It’s also a good idea to create a parenting plan that maps out parenting arrangements for your children. This can be as simple as when your children will be in the care of each parent or who will be the decision-maker. Or, it can be as detailed as setting areas of decision making authority for each parent, along with schedules for holidays, communication, travel, and other aspects.
Verhaeghe Law Office is here to help make sense of all chaos a divorce can bring. Preparation is the key. Our lawyers will guide you through the process and work toward an amicable solution that puts you and your children’s best interest first. For more information about how we can help you through this difficult time, please contact us by giving us a call at (587) 410-2500.