By: Leslie Barrows
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Preparing Yourself to File for Divorce
Protect Yourself, Assets and Parental Rights while Preparing Yourself to File for Divorce
People call a divorce lawyer when they believe they are ready to file for divorce. There are several steps people can take to get educated about the process and what to expect. Protecting yourself, your assets and parental rights is important. The better prepared you are, the easier the process of divorce and child custody may be easier.
Learning about the divorce mediation and process of negotiating a Mediated Settlement Agreement is important. The more you can peacefully settle out of court, the more resources you save to address higher conflict issues.
Note that If you are in any danger of physical harm, do not delay in calling a divorce lawyer for a protective order. And if you are in the direction of harm by another, call the police to report family violence and domestic abuse. Too many people who waited too long became statistics.
Steps to Take for Protecting Yourself when Filing for Divorce
Likely you have talked to people close to you when you started considering whether divorce was an option. Preparing for divorce and things go as peacefully as possible, we must also be ready to respond to a breakdown in communication and good intentions. Get your emotional support team ready.
Thinking about emotional support, prepare not to fill social media with details about your divorce and every twist and turn. These things can and do come back around and can harm you.
Picking Your Emotional Support Team
Feeling isolated and having an existential crisis does not help us make better decisions. Divorce is an emotional experience and our feelings can affect our judgment. Finding a mental health professional, you like, and trust is a good idea.
Support groups for divorcing people help many people realize that in a closed and private setting, you are not the only one going through problems. You can also offer support to the others in your group which becomes part of your emotional support team.
Managing Social Media During Divorce
While it may be tempting to vent on social media on the way out of a hearing or mediation, don’t do it. Some people suggest avoiding social media entirely during divorce. It is ultimately up to you to know whether you can keep quiet about the divorce and maintain a happy presence online talking about anything else.
Too often what is said on Facebook and other social media sites ends up being discussed in divorce cases. The last thing anyone needs is to have evidence of badmouthing a spouse or family. Think as well that while your children may be young now, someday they may also be on social media and see what you said in an avoidable angry rant.
Protecting Your Assets When Preparing Yourself to File for Divorce
Do you want to be the parent that stays in the house and has custody of the kids? Are you the parent planning to move out and get a new place where the kids can come for visitation? In either case, planning for maintaining your life before you file for divorce can help put things in perspective.
How Much Money Do You Need?
Maintaining separate homes and lives costs money. Every family is different. People also adjust differently to a change in financial circumstances. Some people are spenders while others are savers. How much money will you need to maintain your lifestyle after divorce? Are you willing to downsize or are you going to work more than before to increase your income to pay for you and your family’s ongoing living expenses while saving for the future?
When divorcing with assets in retirement accounts, investments, and property, you can work with a divorce financial professional who can suggest options to maintain asset values and appreciation. People are often surprised how quickly cash accounts can be depleted when there is not enough income coming in so that assets can be preserved for the future.
Does Divorce Affect Where Are You Going to Live and Work?
Part of preparing yourself to file for divorce includes a good look at your new home and work situation. If your best job opportunity requires you to move further away from your soon to be ex-spouse, will the increased income disrupt custody and visitation? Some people continue working in their current career job after divorce and seek further education and training to climb the ladder to better opportunities. Especially when divorcing with children it is important to realize how the logistics of pick up and drop off for visitation may work.
Parenting Rights to Protect when Preparing Yourself to File for Divorce
The reality of your job and work demands can affect the feasibility of seeking to be the primary parent. If you have younger children and commute to work, it can be challenging to be the primary parent with whom the children reside. Seeking the court’s appointment as the parent with the exclusive right to establish the residence of a child is something you and your divorce lawyer should discuss in creating a strategy that makes sense for your reality.
Parenting rights are important. When you are well-prepared for the process of divorce, you may find the best solution for custody and visitation through mediation. Alternatively, if you are litigating a custody contest for rights and duties as a parent, prepare for battle. Your divorce lawyer can fight for you in child custody proceedings, but beware that all kinds of past acts and incidents can come back to threaten your case. Being honest and truthful with your lawyer about the worst things your spouse and their supporters may say about you.
Part of Being Prepared Before You File for Divorce is Hiring a Great Divorce and Custody Lawyer
Southlake divorce and child custody attorney, Leslie Barrows stresses the importance of hiring a lawyer you trust and with whom you feel comfortable. To learn more about Leslie Barrows you can listen to this podcast, Attorney Profile: Leslie Barrow’s Law Practice.