The majority of people contemplating divorce do so because they have experienced some sort of profound unhappiness in their relationship. The unhappiness may stem from adultery, finances, lack of communication, or just a general uneasiness that a marriage is not working. For each individual person, the thought process that leads him or her to consider divorce is difficult, and the decision to file for divorce is not arrived at easily.
Regardless of the reason that a person contemplates divorce, it is an emotionally draining experience. In a world where people live extremely busy lives, and in situations where spouses have children and many other obligations, the disruption inevitably caused by divorce adds more stress than most people initially contemplate. Being prepared for the toll that divorce will take on an individual and on a family is one of the first steps in making sure that the divorce process causes as little hardship as possible. Below, several tips for navigating the divorce process are discussed. While each person’s individual experience with the divorce process is unique, these suggestions are helpful to keep in mind throughout the process.
Prepare for the Cost
Today, there are alternative processes to a lengthy, traditional divorce processed entirely through the courts. Spouses may come to a settlement agreement through mediation or may agree to mutually acceptable terms before even contacting an attorney. In other circumstances, a marriage may have deteriorated so much or so rapidly that attorneys are a necessary first step in the divorce process. In still other situations, attorneys may be utilized for confidential consultations to discuss how divorce works before an individual has made the difficult choice to pursue divorce. There will also be filing fees and other related court costs that the spouses will be responsible for paying.
However, the legal fees involved in divorce are not the only financial concern that spouses should be prepared to deal with. Depending on the situation, and especially in cases involving a child or children, spouses need to be prepared for child support and/or spousal support while a divorce is pending and after it is complete. A family law attorney with experience in divorce and the potential financial obligations involved in the divorce process can help you start to get an idea of what the costs might entail for you based on your circumstances.
Taxes are also a concern for people emerging from the divorce process. Changes in income or living arrangements can affect taxes, as can the need to purchase new vehicles or any number of other assets that may be gained from or needed after a divorce is final. Many people do not contemplate the potential tax consequences that come from divorce, which can also include alimony and child support reporting not only for tax purposes, but for other necessities as well. Family law attorneys that handle divorce can help you understand tax consequences, or can provide contact information for financial analysts that can work with you on understanding the potential tax consequences you might face.
Preparation for these costs can really make a big difference as each spouse navigates his or her own way through the divorce process. Not only does acceptance of the fact that these types of costs may be inevitable help you avoid the shock of actually being ordered to pay them, but it also gives you an opportunity to utilize the time you have before you are responsible for such payments to be financially prepared. In cases where one spouse moves out of a marital residence, factoring the potential for these costs into your budget can help you determine the amount you can spend each month on rent and other necessities so that you are able to make smarter economic choices during the divorce process. There may also be frills that you can cut out or suspend until you have a better idea of how these potential financial obligations will affect you. In these types of situations, preparation for the potential costs of divorce is an important first step in emerging from the process in a healthy, stable place.
Gather Necessary Information
In the same way that being prepared for possible financial consequences can help you plan for them, gathering the information that will be necessary for the particular divorce process you are engaging in can also make the process smoother and less stressful. You will likely need to provide detailed financial information about all of your shared and individual assets, and preparing such information ahead of time so that it is easily accessible can save you time, money, and unnecessary stress. At the same time, it is important to provide accurate information when requested. Honesty and clarity are crucial components in emerging successfully from divorce.
It is also a good idea to know where your individual credit stands so that there are no surprises. After divorce, you may need to purchase major assets to replace those that a spouse may have been awarded or those which may not have been part of the marriage in the first place. Credit will also likely affect your ability to secure housing and other important necessities. Having a handle on where your credit stands is an important step in preparing for the things that may require your credit information. This is especially true in marriages where many or all of the largest assets, like houses and vehicles, were purchased only in one spouse’s name, regardless of the reason for doing so.
As cliché as it may sound, the power of positive thinking can help you successfully navigate the divorce process and emerge from it in a solid place. No matter why you have chosen to pursue divorce, remember that you likely made the choice because you were unhappy in your marriage. The decision to get divorced is difficult, but most people arrive at it because they want to improve their situation and find greater happiness. Doing so is possible, though it may not seem like it while divorce is taking its inevitable emotional toll on you.
However, keeping in mind the ultimate goal behind your decision to seek a divorce can help you maintain focus on a positive future. For some, this is easier than others. For spouses engaged in an abusive relationship or one where adultery is common, the benefits of removing such stress from your everyday life are sometimes more obvious. For some people, seeing past an extremely difficult process is not so easy. Some people might believe that, regardless of the reason for seeking divorce, the disintegration of their relationship that often took years to build and cultivate is a personal failure. This type of thinking is prohibitive, and takes your focus away from potentially positive outcomes. Divorce can be a frustrating process, especially for people that were confident they had made the correct choices in preparation for marriage and throughout the marriage itself.
Finding a way that works for you to distance yourself from the guilt and despair that can accompany the divorce process is an important step toward fulfilling your own potential. For some, meditation is the answer. Others may choose therapy. Some people choose to lean on friends or family, or take a break from the stress by going on vacation. Regardless of the method you choose, finding a way to channel the negative emotions brought out by divorce into positive energy is an important step in the healing process, and leaves you more open to new growth and opportunities as you move forward after divorce. Your true focus should be less on the stress of the present situation, and more on what position you could be in several years down the line. Maintaining perspective as to why you have engaged in the divorce process is crucial.
Use Your Lawyer
Family law attorneys that work with divorce cases on a daily basis understand that the process is difficult, and that challenges that arise during it may seem insurmountable. They understand that the process is unique and deeply personal, and are prepared to be an effective support system in many situations. The relationship clients share with divorce attorneys is confidential, but from those relationships many attorneys gain helpful tips that have enabled clients to emerge from the process in a healthy and positive way. Your attorney can share that information with you, and can also provide contact information for financial planning experts and mental health professionals. You should feel free to ask questions, and to be honest about how you feel and what you need. If you are ready to speak to an attorney about divorce, contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation and find out what options could be available to you based on your individual circumstances.