Going through a divorce can be a tough time in a person’s life. You’re faced with so many uncertainties, and sometimes, the light at the end of the tunnel is nowhere to be found.
If you get the house, will you even want to stay? When will you see your kids? Will you be able to financially support yourself? How much child support will you have to pay or receive? Will you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse be able to co-parent? Will the kids be okay? How long will it take for the divorce to be finalized?
The list goes on, and not knowing the answers may cause a great deal of stress and anxiety.
Here’s some divorce advice to help get you and your family through this experience:
1. Seek experienced legal counsel.
You may be getting a divorce, but that doesn’t mean you’re an expert on the subject. Even people who’ve been through a divorce in the past aren’t experts. While doing research on your own can be helpful, consult with an effective divorce attorney, one who has experience going to trial even if you hope it never sees a courtroom, to learn everything there is to know about the divorce process. Not only can a reputable divorce attorney provide you with insight into how divorce and family law cases go in terms of first steps, paperwork and court proceedings, but he or she can also offer an objective perspective, which will prove to be quite useful.
2. Keep your financial documents handy.
One of the first things you are required to do when going through a divorce is prepare and file a statement of net worth. This detailed document requires you to divulge all of your financials, including assets, liabilities, income and expenses. A statement of net worth is so comprehensive, expenses should include everything from mortgage costs and utilities to food, toiletries and clothing. Because this document is so thorough, you’ll need to have all recent bank statements, credit card bills, and other financial documents accessible for review.
If you’re not sure what else to include, you can always ask your attorney—just to be safe. In fact, a good attorney will review all of your financial documents and prepare your statement of net worth with you.
3. Put your kids first.
This may seem like an obvious piece of advice when two people with children go to get a divorce. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen. If at all possible, communicate with your spouse to determine how to tell your children about the divorce. Take into consideration their age when you do, as that will play a major role in your approach to the conversation.
A 2016 article published by Today’s Parent, an online parenting website, provides a guide for parents looking to talk to their children about divorce, based on age. It explains: “Adults see divorce for the complex, multi-faceted situation it is. Young children tend to view it in concrete and self-centered terms. Big-picture reassurances will mean little to a child who is wondering, “Where will the cat live?” Understanding where kids are at, developmentally, can help you help them adjust to the reality of divorce.”
Also, don’t talk badly about the other parent in front of your kids during and after the divorce, regardless of how you feel about your spouse. This will make your children feel even more stuck in the middle between the two of you, which will only cause more tension and stress within the family.
4. Avoid a custody battle.
Once you decide to go to trial, the outcome is completely out of your hands. Whatever terms and conditions the judge establishes, you will have to abide by. While there is a chance you will be happy with the outcome, you’ll likely spend a lot of money to get there, and there aren’t any guarantees. This is especially important to keep in mind, because judges oftentimes don’t grant both parents with joint custody in these cases. The way many judges see it, if the parents cannot even come to an agreement on when they each see their children, they won’t be able to handle a joint custody arrangement.
As a result, your best option is to strategize with your attorney and try to negotiate a customized settlement with your spouse. This will save you a lot of time and money.
5. Focus on the finish line.
Divorces can be expensive, and the longer the process is dragged out, the more money you will end up spending.
That doesn’t necessarily mean rush through the entire process unengaged and indifferent about the outcome. However, you shouldn’t get caught up in trying to hurt or humiliate the other person and letting your emotions get the best of you. If you refuse to work with your spouse and fight every step of the way, the entire process will drag out, which will only cause more stress and cost more money. Plus, it will take that much longer for you to move on and start the next chapter in your life.
Sunshine & Feinstein, LLP is a divorce and family law firm in Garden City, NY. We work tirelessly to help our clients through the divorce process, guiding and advising them every step of the way. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you.
Sunshine & Feinstein, LLP, 666 Old Country Road, Suite 605, Garden City, NY 11530. (516) 742-6444. This is Attorney Advertising.