1. Get professional help. Choose a lawyer to guide you through the divorce process and ensure you and your children are cared for now and in the future. Consider a therapist to help you and your children navigate the emotions and trials of the separation and divorce. Your lawyer may know a good family therapist so don't hesitate to ask for a referral. If cost is an issue, look for a university near you that offers a counseling program; they almost always have a clinic staffed by their students and the cost is significantly less than seeing someone in private practice. 2. Notify your boss. At some point in this process, you may take time off work, leave early, or come in late. Discuss scheduling needs in advance with your boss to prevent a negative backlash. 3. Tell your friends what you need. The best way to enlist your friend's support is to be specific about what you need. Explain, "I need you to let me talk, cry, and rage. I still want to come to family events like your 4th of July pool party. While I will need your advice going forward, right now I really just need you to listen." 4. Talk to your children's teachers and coaches. Teachers need to be aware of possible changes in your child's behavior. Keep them on the look out for signs of problems with your children. Children sometimes have a different relationship with their teachers and coaches than their parents and may be more willing to confide in them. Your school may have resources such as a divorce support group or a school counselor who can help your kids. Seeing you talk about the situation with others gives your children permission to talk. It lets them know that they do not need to be ashamed or embarrassed. 5. Tap into your community resources. Religious organizations sometimes offer divorce support groups. Meetup.com lists local groups for people going through a divorce. While these meetings are usually not run by professionals, they are usually free. Also, look into Parents Without Partners, an organization specifically for single parents. 6. Call a hotline if you're on the edge. Professional help is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There is no shame in calling one of these places when it's 2 a.m. and all you can do is sob, or your children have truly pushed you to the brink and you have nowhere to turn, or your anger has become so great that it feels out of control.
Whether you have spent the last year or the past decade dealing with overwhelming marital drama, the new year is a great time to center yourself and re-focus on what you want to accomplish in your life. Here are some ideas of helpful New Year's resolutions that can inspire you no matter which phase of the divorce process you are in.
Divorce is an intense, emotional time for everyone involved. As you and your ex-spouse work to separate your assets and minimize the damage, your children may be lost in the shuffle. Taking a divorce to court can be a tough experience, and mediation may be easier if you and your ex are on amicable terms.
For those contemplating divorce, it may seem that the decision to engage in divorce proceedings will unleash a torrent of issues that need to be resolved in an instant: child custody, living arrangements, asset division and career considerations. Shuttling between lawyers and courtrooms can add to the stress. If you are prepared and the divorce is amicable, however, the process does not have to be so overwhelming.
A friend of a friend complained about having to do something called "discovery" for her divorce. She was confused and overwhelmed about what she needed to gather.
| |1. Is it fault or no-fault? In some states, you have the option of filing for a no-fault or a fault-based divorce. With a no-fault divorce, you're saying that neither party is at fault; you're saying that the marriage has broken down and cannot be repaired. A no-fault divorce with mutual consent takes approximately six months, although the specifics vary if you have substantial assets to divide or cannot agree on custody and visitation. In a fault-based divorce, one spouse claims that the other is at fault, meaning that the divorce is the result of poor treatment by one spouse or participation in specific activities that constitute fault. Claiming fault is typically a tactic used when one spouse wants the divorce and the other does not, or when one spouse is angling for alimony. Marital misconduct is one of the factors judges consider when awarding alimony. 2. Will it be a contested or uncontested divorce? Another important factor in your divorce is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. When your divorce is uncontested, both parties agree to the divorce and to work out terms. If you aren't able to work out settlement terms with your ex, you'll need arbitration, mediation, or the skills of a divorce attorney to resolve terms. It is an uncontested divorce so long as the court doesn't have to step in and make a ruling. Uncontested divorces move more quickly through the court system and are typically less expensive than contested divorces. In a contested divorce, you or your ex denies the grounds of the divorce, or you can't agree on the terms of the divorce. A fault-based divorce may be also contested by the spouse accused of fault. A contested divorce is a lengthy process involving numerous steps:
- Preparing, filing, and serving divorce paperwork.
- Discovery, when you gather information via written questions, subpoenas, and depositions.
- Pre-trial motions and hearings to resolve any points of legal dispute.
- Settlement proposals and negotiations between your attorneys.
- Trial if you can't agree on settlement terms.
- Judge's decision.
- Appeal if you don't agree with the judge's decision.
A contested divorce can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and can take more than a year, particularly if one of the parties appeals and begins a new round of legal process. 3. What are the residency requirements? There are residency requirements to file for divorce. To be eligible to file for divorce, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for the six months prior to filing to divorce. If you don't meet the residency requirement, you must wait to file or file in your former jurisdiction. 4. What is your plan to divide and negotiate the following in the divorce?
- Child custody.
- Child support.
- Marital assets.
- Real estate and other real property.
- Physical belongings.
- Spousal support (alimony).
It's critical to work with a good divorce attorney when you or your spouse makes the decision to divorce. Even if your divorce is amicable, it is an emotional process and you may not clearly consider all factors that go into a divorce. If you and your spouse disagree, you need a good attorney on your side to protect your interests.
Experiencing a family law issue can be stressful and overwhelming. Knowledgeable family attorneys do much more than represent clients, they understand how choices made in the legal process can drastically affect life afterwards.
If someone you know is struggling with a family law issue let them know that a No Hassle Family Law Strategy Session can give them the peace of mind, clarity and guidance needed to achieve a stable, secure and happy future.
What's more, if I'm not the right attorney to solve their problem, I'll point them in the right direction. Feel free to forward this email to anyone you feel may benefit from the information in it, or have them call my office at 215-572-0700 to schedule a time to figure out the best strategy toward their new life.