11 Tips for Anyone Considering Divorce
If you feel your marriage is failing and you’re considering a split, consider the following tips.
1: Consult with a Family Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Getting good legal advice is always a smart idea when entering into any complex venture. A divorce or separation is no different. High asset and high conflict divorces can be extremely complex and require several kinds of experts. The sooner you learn about the entire process the better. Some attorneys will provide a free initial consultation or charge a nominal fee for a simple consultation. It will be well worth it.
Your marriage does not need to be over to consult with an attorney about your rights and responsibilities in divorce. Divorce is a very messy process and you don’t want to have any regrets or second thoughts. It is wise to exhaust all resources such as counseling before throwing in the towel.
The bottom line is, you have to be absolutely sure it’s what you want.
2: Put Your Kids First
This is easier said than done. Putting children first starts with discussing a shared parenting plan as early in the process as possible. If parents cannot agree, the Court will impose a plan upon you. Custody battles are expensive, time-consuming, and seldom leave the parties satisfied. If you are unable to negotiate with your spouse, utilize mediation.
Seek out experienced and competent counseling for your children and do everything you can to mitigate emotional trauma. A good counselor can teach you how to talk to your children about divorce. Review the Children’s Bill of Rights for a better understanding of how to protect your children.
3: The Court will Not Vindicate you
Probate Court judges deal with divorces on a daily basis. No matter how bad you think your spouse is, no matter how extreme you think your spouse’s behavior is, the judge has seen worse on a regular basis. The judge will not referee your marriage. The judge will put your children’s best interest first, but it will be her version and not necessarily yours. Judges also want the parties to settle and will do everything in their power to “encourage” settlement. A judge’s job is to follow the law and decide your case. Unless your spouse’s bad behavior is legally relevant, you will never even be able to talk about it in court.
4: Gather Records and Documents
Try to gather as much documentation as you can before meeting with any attorney. Include copies of all tax returns, loan applications, wills, trusts, financial statements, banking information, brokerage statements, loan documents, credit card statements, deeds to real estate, and car registrations. Regular monthly bills are also needed to complete your financial statement.
5: Always Consider Settlement
Do you really want to roll the dice and place your future into the hands of a stranger? A good lawyer fights for their client and will litigate hard cases, but only as a last resort. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has many aspects, including mediation, arbitration, private judges and trials. Divorces are uniquely suited to ADR because you can negotiate individual aspects of your divorce, such as support, child custody and property division. In each of these areas it is possible to utilize some aspect of ADR.
You can mediate your parenting plan and use a private judge to litigate other parts of your divorce you can’t agree on, for example. Judges are never happy when parties can’t settle at least a portion of their differences.
6: Your Lawyer is Not your Therapist
If you follow our initial advice and seek counseling, this tip may not be needed. However, parties in divorces often spend a considerable time trying arguing their side of the case. Of course, your attorney needs as much information as possible, but lawyers are not trained to deal with your emotions. No matter how emotionally healthy you may be, divorce is traumatic and seeing a therapist is almost a necessity, especially where children are involved.
7: Set Goals and Make a Plan
Experts agree that setting goals increases your chances of success in life. Divorce is no different. Take the time to develop specific goals to help you stay focused and on target during this difficult process.
8: Protect your Accounts
Contact financial institutions to change the registrations on any financial accounts that are owned jointly. See a CPA or other financial professional before making any moves.
9: Review your will
Review your will and estate plan and consider any changes that will need to be made, including insurance policies and retirement accounts.
10: Stay Level Headed
If you change the locks, max out credit cards, destroy personal property, hide assets, cut off utilities, move your children out of state or out of the country, or any other thing you can think of “to get back at your spouse,” you will probably end up regretting it. Like our first tip, talk to a lawyer before you consider taking any adverse action towards your spouse.
11: Listen to Your Lawyer and Not Uncle Joe
As soon as you mention the word divorce, every relative, friend, and acquaintance may suddenly become a legal expert on divorce and happily inform you of your rights. Rely on your attorney to whom you are paying for expert advice. He went to law school and passed the Bar, not Uncle Joe. And even if he did, he is not your lawyer and doesn’t know your case. If you don’t trust your lawyer’s experience and knowledge, find another attorney.
With over 30 years of combined experience, Jason Brodie Esq. and Joshua Friedman Esq. will guide you toward realistic goals and provide committed advocacy toward achieving them. They are known throughout South Florida for dedicated client service, tenacity, and success in complex divorce litigation involving property division, child custody, and spousal support.
To get a better understanding of the qualities our reputation is built on, contact our office in Boca Raton to schedule your initial phone consultation (561) 392-5100