Filing divorce papers is a decision that no one should take lightly. A great deal of thought should be taken into it first. Once the person knows 100 percent whether to do it, he or she can start the proceedings either with an attorney or the county’s family court. The following are seven things to consider before taking those steps to sever the ties:
Throughout the world, divorces are becoming exceedingly commonplace. The heartache and upset that accompany such an event can have lasting consequences, both for the partners and their children. Extended family members also suffer from the breakup. If you are considering a divorce make sure you are 100 percent certain it is the right thing to do for yourself and for your family. The following offers clear questions you must ask yourself as well as things you should consider prior to filing for divorce.
Things to Consider
3. Make Sure You Want a Divorce
Although this might sound simple, the choice to get divorced is a difficult one, and when you feel too emotional, then you are not quite there yet. Before you file for divorce, you must make sure that there is no chance of improvement. It can be hard to go back on the decision after you have served your partner with divorce documents. Also, bear in mind that it only takes one person’s decision for the court to terminate the marriage. If you prefer to try marriage counseling, do so before you apply for divorce.
2. Always Consider Your Legal Options
You do not know what you are up against unless you have actually been through a divorce before. People tend to have a vague idea from TV shows and news outlets, but this traumatic phase will change your family forever. Today, many divorces are carried out through an amicable settlement, and only a few make it to court. As a matter of fact, experts agree that divorce proceedings have experienced drastic changes in the United States over the last couple of years. Some couples prefer to hire lawyers and gradually deal with paperwork and logistics themselves to lower the cost. Many couples choose low-conflict settlements. This entails not just mediation, but also the “collaborative divorce” process.
3. It is Important to Think About the Kids
It is impossible to anticipate exactly how great an affect a divorce will have on the lives of children. In 2014, the Huffington Post published a report on the different effects of divorce on children. They found, and psychologists agreed, that the impact of the divorce on the children is tied to several factors including the age of the child, the gender of the child, and the way in which each parent handled it emotionally. Furthermore, children will continue to maintain a relationship with their other parent unless there is a history of violence or negligence. You do not want to destroy a stable parent-child relationship, no matter how frustrated you are with your partner. To do so is not only illegal but can have long lasting consequences for your children.
4. Get Necessary Financial Information About Your Spouse
In you want to pursue a divorce settlement or go to court, one of the first problems you will have to deal with is money. You need to know the wages and assets of your partner to determine fair amount of alimony payments and/or child care. Therefore, if you do not want to ask your spouse about this, you need to do some research. Find information on recent pay receipts, bank statements, etc. Alternatively, look at the tax return for the previous year since it could tell you the whole story. If things do not work out, you may ask your attorney to petition your spouse for the information. To make the process easier, gather as much financial information as you can before meeting with your attorney or mediator.
5. Create a Plan for Child Custody
When you have kids, their custody arrangement is undoubtedly at the top of the priority list during a divorce. You should know that you and your partner will end up dividing primary custody. Therefore, it is a smart idea to sit down and study carefully your work calendar, the schedule of your children, and your other responsibilities to come up with your custody timetable. You will be ahead of your partner if you can come up with an agreement that gives you both time with the kids fairly.
6. Hire an Attorney
You have to meet with an attorney as soon as you realize you are going to be getting a divorce. This is a very important step in this process. You do need to take this step if you have been married for a short time or if you have no assets or kids, and you both agree to the divorce. An initial appointment with a divorce lawyer may be free of charge, but even if it costs you a few hundred dollars, you need to do it. You may assume that your case is easy, and you have nothing to risk, but you may be mistaken. There are many properties and obligations that even the humblest couple are likely to have, from loans to savings in a mortgage or retirement account. Use free tools like the local Bar Association, or you try legal assistance if you are particularly strapped for cash. Also consider the services of a mediator. A mediator is another legal agent who can file the court papers and walk you through a divorce decree. He or she is likely to be thousands of dollars cheaper than an attorney, and in the end, have the same results.
7. Plan How to Tell Your Partner and the Children
If you are worried that the news will harm your partner, make sure you have previously seen a licensed psychologist to plan the speech. Although there is no way to minimize the damage and alienation, a competent therapist will be able to help you with techniques to leave as much of his/her self-esteem intact. Children must also be informed and the way in which you do so is important. Most states require couples attend a mandatory child psychology course so they understand the impact this will have on their children, and how best to speak with them about the upcoming divorce.