Divorces can never give rise to pleasant feelings. More often than not, they tend to get messy. Couples typically make every effort possible to avoid the misfortune of getting a divorce. But, if you’re in an unhealthy relationship, it may be time to consider your options.
Regardless of your reasons for filing for divorce, it is a decision that needs to be made devoid of emotion. It is difficult to think straight when emotions get in the way of decision making. This typically happens when it comes to filing for divorce.
Your decision to divorce should be made only after thoroughly considering all your options. Only then would you be mentally prepared to fight for your assets and the custody of your children.
The circumstances surrounding every divorce are different. However, as with every life decision, a little deliberation and preparedness can make a world of difference during the legal process.
In this post, we address a few key considerations that need to be kept in mind before taking the final step towards ending your marriage.
1. Should You File First?
One of the first considerations you will have to make beforehand is whether or not you should be the first one to file for the divorce, as doing so can have several benefits. It gives you the advantage of picking your divorce team with ample time in hand which, in turn, would mean that you take your time to get the smartest lawyers you can.
Doing so will also ensure that you have all your paperwork in place, including legal and financial documents, which take a long time to prepare. It can also reduce the likelihood of your partner being successful in manipulating/hiding their assets, which happens often.
2. Do You Have a Strong Support System?
The divorce process can be extremely stressful and can take a toll on you. In such a scenario, you’re going to need all the support and guidance you can get. You will need to be strong and focused, and your family and friends can help you with that. If you feel the need to see a therapist to keep your emotions under check to get through the divorce, do not hesitate in seeing one.
Apart from that, you will also need strong legal backing. When looking for a divorce lawyer, do not forget to check online for legal services, depending on the area you stay in. If you live in Chicago, for instance, you can look for lawyers, check their ratings, read client testimonials and referrals and ensure that you get yourself the best divorce lawyer in Chicago. Pick an experienced lawyer as he will understand the importance of settling quickly, but will also fight for you, should the need arise.
Engaging a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer is crucial as only he will be able to steer you through the divorce process in a clear, precise and coherent manner, and win you a fair deal. If you and your partner do not want to go to court, you can consider mediation and collaborative divorce.
3. Can You Afford the Divorce?
Divorce can be expensive. Apart from the legal fees, there will also be the added expense of setting up a new home. It is suggested that you be prepared to tackle such expenses and avoid getting into debt. Here’s what you can do to protect your financial interests –
Get Some Credit
It is crucial that you have some credit in your name alone. So, if you don’t already have it, you may want to start working on establishing some now. This can be done by procuring your very own credit card. Do ensure that your card is registered in your name only.
Once you have a credit card in your name, use it skimpily and make sure you pay it off every month. Aim towards establishing a healthy credit score in order to steer clear of debt. This can be done by using the credit card only to the extent that you’re able to pay off without stressing over it.
Proof of Income
You will need to present proof of your and your partner’s income in writing. If both of you are salaried professionals, you will need a copy of the most recent pay slips as well as your Income Tax return form. If your partner is self-employed, you will need copies of his/her bank account and financial statements from his/her business to get a fair estimate of how much he/she is making.
Close Joint Accounts
It is best to pay off and close all joint credit accounts before you separate in order to keep your disgruntled partner from misusing your money. Apart from that, inform your creditors about your divorce so that you will continue to receive bills from all joint accounts. Make sure you pay all your credit card bills, so as to avoid hurting your credit.
Moving or Staying?
Yes, you’re going through a marital strife, but unless there’s domestic or any other kind of abuse involved, it would be best to continue staying in your marital home. This matters as it could have a direct impact on the property distribution by the judge, especially if you partner continues to pay the mortgage during the course of the divorce case. If you’re making payments towards the mortgage, make sure you have well-documented proof of that.
It is best to not leave your marital home without consulting your lawyer as that can work against you in court. If you’re a victim of abuse, leave the home if you don’t feel safe and discuss this immediately with your attorney. He may be able to legally have your partner removed from the home.
Be at Your Best Behavior
Avoid dating other people and/or partying until the wee hours of the morning until the case is settled. If you have children, spend quality time with them as a divorce is generally harder on the children than the parents. Stay close to your family and friends, and recharge physically, emotionally and spiritually. Most of all, whatever you do, always ensure you’re above reproach.
4. Can You Steer Through It Without Trouble?
Divorce processes are known to be complex and confusing, particularly when the situation becomes acrimonious. This is the reason why having a great attorney by your side can help you deal with it. It is important that you stay as focused and organized as you can. Clear any doubt that you may have with your attorney, and make a note of the answers and the guidance that you receive.
If there’s one decision that you need to make in all awareness, then it is the one pertaining to your divorce. It is best to do what you can to avoid a divorce. You can talk to a marriage counselor or a psychologist to try and restore your relationship. Most importantly, ensure that the divorce battle does not result in your children getting physically or mentally harmed in any way. If you’re convinced that getting a divorce is the way ahead for you, you need to start working on protecting your interests. Talking to an experienced attorney can sort out several divorce-related concerns regarding finances, property and your children’s custody.