What to do Before a Divorce: 5 Tips You Must Follow (which actually work)
Considering divorce is one of the hardest things a person can do.
Planning for a divorce usually means things have gone past the point of no return-and with that comes feelings of sadness, defeat and maybe even betrayal.
However, this isn't the case. If divorce is imminent, preparing in advance is the smart thing to do.
Will Preparing for Divorce in Advance Make Me Look Bad?
The answer is no.
Most people don’t want others to view them as scheming or underhanded, so there might be a natural inclination to simply avoid the subject.
There are lots of good reasons to prepare for and consider prior to divorce. For example, have you suffered domestic violence during your marriage? If so, what do you need to do to ensure your safety?
What if you don’t make enough money to live on your own and support the children?
Have you taken the necessary steps to protect your children?
What if you are a stay-at-home mom and have no access to funds?
You must consider all options prior to filing for divorce and knowing your circumstances is vital to staying physically, mentally and financially healthy during the process.
Getting ahead of the game and preparing for divorce prior to filing is one of the best things you can do.
Preparing for Divorce-The Smart Move
There are lots of articles and sites providing information about divorce, but most people don’t want others to view them as scheming or underhanded, so there might be a natural inclination to simply avoid the subject.
But making the right move is making the smart move. Prepare ahead of time to avoid unforeseen pitfalls.
Do your best to anticipate these pitfalls and give yourself time to create solutions for them.
Plan for the Storm-You Know Its Coming
Shane Kersh was born in south Texas and understands that folks prepare for hurricane season every year, even if we can’t predict when, we know a storm is going to come eventually.
If you were going on an important job interview, wouldn’t you prepare your resume and sharpen your interview skills to the best of your ability? Of course, you would?
What about planning for the purchase of your first house? Didn’t you study your finances, talk to a realtor and a mortgage specialist to determine what home was best for your family? Of course, you would.
Planning for divorce is even more important because making a mistake could not only affect your future, but the future of your children.
5 Things to Do Before Filing for Divorce (according to Shane Kersh)
1. Deal with Emotions and Understand the Reality
There is no way to remove emotion from a divorce proceeding. But you can’t let emotion drive your decision making or shape your reality.
For example, let’s say that the husband has had an on-going affair with a co-worker. Of course, you are going to be devastated by the news.
You want your pound of flesh and are going to make sure he never sees you or the children again. That’s emotion-not reality.
Likely, the Courts are going to issue orders so that both parents have as much time with the children as possible. Remember, the courts concern is the best interest of the child, not exacting revenge on your behalf.
Another example, if you have been the breadwinner in the home for the last 20 years. Maybe your wife has never worked outside the home and you’ve been the sole contributor to the 401K plan through your employer.
You’ve owned a home for the entire marriage and she’s never contributed financially.
Upon divorce, you want to keep what’s yours and she can fend for herself. You believe you should get the house, the furnishings and all of YOUR 401k plan.
That’s emotion. Not reality.
Remember, that Texas is a community property state.
The court divides the marital estate in a just and right division, which means your wife is entitled to 50 percent of the estate, even though she was never employed.
2. Get Organized and Assemble Necessary Documents
Getting documents such as tax returns, W-2’s, bank and credit card statements and mortgage information is crucial to any divorce case.
However, there are other documents that need to be in order prior to filing for divorce, such as, day care expenses, car notes and utility bills.
All of this documentation can be used at a temporary orders hearing so that the court can decide who pays what bills to maintain the status quo.
The court would also need this information when setting temporary child support for the non-custodial parent.
Having this information ahead of time will give you a better understanding of the landscape during the divorce proceeding.
3. Make a Financial Plan
Divorce proceedings, especially when the involve children or large amounts of community assets can take months or even years to finalize.
And what happens when the divorce is final? Will you have child support to rely on? If so, how much? Can you afford to stay in the home, or will you need to sell? How will you support yourself?
These are all questions you need to ask prior to filing for divorce. Understand that your lifestyle will change.
But how much of an impact it has on you is determined by how you’ve planned for your financial future.
4. Consult with an Experienced Family Lawyer
When your (and possibly your children’s) future is at stake, you must have the best representation possible. Would you go to dermatologist for advice on heart trouble? Of course not.
So why would you hire the lawyer that is a family friend who mostly does labor and employment law?
Family law is an extremely diverse and complex area of practice.
Make sure you interview your potential lawyer and ask them questions specifically about your case. In addition, ask the lawyer how he or she approaches trial strategy, settlement and case strategy. Inquire as to how many cases they normally keep on the books.
But most importantly make sure you feel comfortable with the lawyer as someone you can trust.
5. Take Care of Yourself and Your Children
If you are even considering divorce you already know the stress and anxiety that comes with it. It is vitally important that you take good care of yourself both physically and emotionally. It is always recommended that you see a counselor or therapist prior to filing for divorce so you can develop strategies for dealing with this unfortunate event.
Make sure that your children are shielded as much as possible.
Don’t argue about or discuss the divorce in front of them. No matter how old they are. Talk to schoolteachers and counselors and let them know what’s going on, so they can be on the look-out for any symptoms of depression or anxiety from the children.
As they say, “this too shall pass” Make sure you are physically and mentally fit enough to handle the process.
Divorce is never easy, but getting organized and making a plan will make it less stressful. Be prepared before filing for divorce.
Shane Kersh is an experienced and aggressive family law trial attorney committed to helping clients who are facing a difficult challenge ahead.
The Kersh Law Firm prides itself on exceptional customer service and proven results.