I’m heading into a divorce, what do I need to know?
Well, there is no other way to say this: If you are heading into a divorce, you have a lot to do.
Here is the initial checklist:
- Gather all of your financial documents: tax returns, bank statements, stock portfolios, mortgage statements, credit card statements, retirement statements, insurance plans, real estate appraisals, etc.
- Make a budget for how you can get by 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 your children, there are excellent books and online resources that address this important issue.
- Read up on how to answer your children’s inevitable questions. The good news is that yours is not the only family facing divorce issues, 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.
- Begin to 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 attorney. Find one you feel you can confide in. When you interview the lawyer, be sure to interview his or her team as well. You are entering into a pretty intense relationship with skilled practitioners, 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. When getting a divorce, be sure the lawyer you choose has an excellent team of experts who can support you through this overwhelming experience.
- Take care of yourself. We’ve all heard this a million times and it’s true: 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.
Experienced Seattle & Bellevue-Redmond Divorce & Child Custody Attorneys
At DuBois Law Group, our Seattle and Bellevue-Redmond divorce lawyers are geared up to help you get started on this journey as efficiently as possible. We can help you strategize whether you want to proceed with an amicable or contested divorce – and either way, we’ll educate you along the way so that you can make decisions that are best for you and your children.
If you are already in the midst of a divorce and not happy with the direction it is taking, check out our Divorce 911 page.
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.
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 the other parent has threatened to move, we can jump in and let you know your rights.
Planning for Divorce? Let Us Help.
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 Law Group is here to help.
If you have further questions or want to arrange a confidential consultation, please contact us today. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue-Redmond and can meet with you in one or both of those locations as needed. We look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve the solutions you seek.