A sobering fact is that January holds the distinction of being the month for most divorce filings. One can almost think of it as a kind of New Year’s resolution; a fresh start, if you will. So if you are at that point, here are some things to consider for keeping your divorce from spiraling into a disaster. These tips come from our experts in matrimonial law, family counseling and financial planning, along with experiences with our clients.
1. Don’t Rush. Fools rush in. Whether you fell in love quickly—and look how well that turned out for you—or not, there is usually no rational reason to rush the end of a marriage. Taking your time to weigh all your options and make the right decisions could impact not just your well-being now, but also for years to come. The average length of a divorce is one year. You’re likely starting a marathon; pace yourself, no need to sprint at this point.
2. Make Sure You Fully Understand the Consequences. You are going to have to live with this decision, make sure you know what the ramifications are through each step.
3. Agree on the Type of Divorce. There is more than one way to get divorced. Litigated—where each of you gets an attorney—is the most often thought of, but not the only alternative. Self-filing, mediated and collaborative are each alternatives. And these alternatives could save you money, time and your relationship post-divorce. If at all possible, you and your spouse should talk about the options and agree on the best one for your situation.
4. Choose an Attorney Wisely. If you need or want an attorney, pick the right one. It is not enough to just open the Yellow Pages, close your eyes and point to a name. It is not enough to call that number from the billboard or the radio commercial. Not all attorneys are created equal and some might be brilliant litigators, but that may not be what you need. The best thing to do is interview a couple of attorneys before you pay that retainer and get a feel for how they fit your specific needs.
5. Get a Team. Your attorney might not be the best person to give you advice on the sale of your home or splitting your retirement assets. In many divorce cases, it is good to also get the advice of a real estate agent and a financial planner so that the best settlement can be reached for everyone.
6. Don’t Act Out of Anger. It is easy to slip into the mindset of punishing the soon-to-be ex-spouse. But rash, kneejerk decisions made to exact revenge never turn out right for the long-term future.
7. Don’t Take Advice From Your Plumber or Mechanic. Everybody’s got an opinion, right? Once you start talking about your settlement details with friends and others, people will undoubtedly say “you should have done this” or “so and so got more.” Don’t listen. Not every divorce is the same and you need to trust the professionals who are helping you with yours.
8. Pick Your Battles. You may not want to fight over everything. Have a list of priorities and remember that it is more important to keep your principles than it is to keep “stuff”.
9. Get Out of Your Head. Divorce is one of the most emotionally and mentally stressful things you will ever do. If you can, get professional counseling to deal with those feelings and you will likely have a less chaotic aftermath.
About Carlos Blanco
Carlos founded The Big Kaboom www.thebigkaboom.com, which combines people, technology and social elements, in order to support clients throughout their divorce process. He may be contacted by calling 305-908-1171 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.