It is never easy to face the reality that your marriage has too many insurmountable problems to continue and that dissolving it will be best for all involved. Finding the right divorce lawyer is not a happy ending, but it’s a step in the right direction. More than that, finding the right divorce lawyer can be like finding an experienced scout who can lead you through the jumbled jungle of family law issues that lie between your now and your ever after.
If you haven’t yet considered these issues, this is the time to think about them. Not all will apply to you, but it’s best to first think them through. They will help you determine what you need from a divorce attorney. Hopefully, you will find one who has comprehensive experience in shepherding people through divorce and beyond.
Pre-Filing Questions to Ask Yourself
What leads you to conclude that divorce is the only answer to your marital situation?
Make sure you did not reach this decision in the heat of an argument. Give yourself a few days to let your emotions subside, then consider the day in and day out life of your present family life vs. what it will be like post-divorce. If, after this time-out, you are still certain that the obstacles standing between you and happiness cannot be overcome – on to the next question.
How will divorce impact your financial situation?
Unless you are the one who has handled the expenses, you may have no clue as to how much your lifestyle costs. Gather all the recurring bills (phone, internet, utilities), bank account statements, and credit card bills. Do you own your car, or are there still payments to be made? Then, there’s the matter of where you will be living.
Will you continue to live in your current home?
If you and your partner decide selling your home is best for your situation, talk over whether half the proceeds of the sale will be part of your divorce settlement. Alternatively, consider whether you can find a way to buy him or her out. But whether you stay or go, will there you require alimony that can go towards your mortgage payments or rent. And don’t forget child support.
Do you need to make any significant purchases?
Speaking of your current living situation, many lawyers, including divorce attorney Kelvin Birk advise that this may be the time to purchase needed appliances or vehicles. Once you file for divorce, the court will freeze all your assets and forbid taking on new debt until the divorce is finalized. A good divorce lawyer will also prepare you for ways your life may change once you and your partner have gone your separate ways.
Navigating Your New Life
Loyalties Will Change
Your in-laws may surprise you and endeavor to stay close to you as well as their grandchildren. After all, they know even better than you that their son or daughter has faults. However, you may find yourself left out of holidays and other family gatherings to maintain civility.
Couples with whom you socialize may fall by the wayside. Some will ghost you because one or both partners have stronger ties to your ex. Others who found it fun to go out as a foursome may find it uncomfortable to include a single person on outings.
Your Work Situation
If you’ve been a stay-at-home parent, you will most likely need to find a job. But even if you have had the same employer for years, you may need to work different hours to be there for your kids. Find out if this is possible. Ask if you can do some work from home. If your current position doesn’t allow for flexibility, you may have to seek one that does.
Or you may need to command a higher salary. If this is the only reason you will be leaving, you may want to discuss the possibility of getting a raise. However, if your boss says no, do not mention that you will be leaving until you have found a new and better-paying position. And when you find that job, you might want to ask your divorce lawyer if he can recommend a CPA. In fact, you may want to seek a divorce lawyer who has experience in that field.
Change Can Be Good
Many changes work to your advantage. Shared custody means you will have a lot of free time. You can use it to join a book club, look into a meet-up group that shares your interests, join a gym, or take up yoga. And as they say, you never know, you may meet someone new. And even if you don’t, you will have found a whole new group of people to spend time with.
And don’t forget to keep in touch with your divorce lawyer for all your post-divorce legal matters.