Well, there is no other way to say this: If you’re heading into a divorce, you have a lot to do to.
Here is the initial list:
Gather all of your financial documents.
Tax returns, bank statements, stock portfolios, mortgage statements, credit card statements, retirement statements, insurance plans, real estate appraisals; and so on.
Make a budget.
How will you get by, both in the short term (during the divorce process), and then for the long term (after the divorce).
Begin researching the effects of divorce on children.
If you have not yet told the children, there are excellent books and online resources that address this important issue. We have some very good material listed on our Resources page.
Read up on how to answer your children’s inevitable questions.
The good news is that yours is not the only family going through a divorce, so it’s pretty easy to discover the most likely questions you will hear from your kids. You should be ready with good, well-thought-out answers.
Assemble your team of family and friends.
Every divorcing person needs to decide which friends they are going to confide in. This is often the time when you discover who your real friends are. Don’t go off spouting criticisms against your spouse to anyone who will listen. First of all, they will get tired of listening to you complain, and second of all, you don’t always know the course your divorce will take. You don’t want to spill your guts to someone who may end up on your spouse’s witness list at trial.
Gather your team of experts.
You will most likely need an experienced family law lawyer. Find one you feel you can confide in. And when you interview the lawyer, be sure to interview her team as well. You are entering into a pretty intense relationship with these folks, so find someone you like and feel you can trust. In some cases you may also need a financial expert, a CPA, a parenting expert and often a personal therapist or counselor. Be sure the lawyer you choose has an excellent team of experts who can support you through this overwhelming experience. The DuBois Cary team has all of these resources at hand.
Take care of yourself.
We’ve all heard this a million times. We can’t take care of our kids or our finances if we don’t take care of ourselves. This is particularly sage advice for someone going through a divorce. Get some exercise even if it’s just a walk around the block. Have a good cry if you need to (men too!). One of our clients told me that during the first couple of weeks, she locked herself in her car and let out a few good screams. Find someone to take your kids for a night and watch an old movie, go out with friends, or take a hot bath. It is critical that you take especially good care of yourself now. You will need all kinds of energy to make it through the next several months.
At DuBois Cary, we are geared up to help you get stared on this journey as efficiently as possible. We can help you strategize how you want to approach your divorce and educate you along the way so that you can make decisions that are best for you and your children. Will your divorce be amicable? Contested? Are you looking for a a mediation or trial?
If you are in the dark about your finances, we can work with you to help you better understand your financial position both at the present and in the future and help you determine how to divide your assets and debt. If you are in a domestic partnership, or same sex relationship, we can educate you about your legal rights.
We have created hundreds of parenting plans that meet the unique needs of various kinds of families. If you have been raising a child you have not adopted, we can help you learn if you have parenting rights as a “de-facto parent”. If you are thinking of relocating, or your children’s other parent has threatened to move, we can jump in and let you know your rights.
You have a lot to learn over the next several months. You will need a legal team who understands that every family law situation is different, and there is no “cookie cutter” answer to your situation. The team at DuBois Cary can and will provide you with exceptional legal counsel during this major life transition.
If you’d like to consult with one of our attorneys, please call (206) 547-1486.