Ending a marriage can be a chaotic, trying time. There’s a lot going. Meetings with attorneys, mediation, forms to fill out, documents to submit, the list is practically endless. It makes things easier to have a divorce strategy in place.
Creating a divorce strategy benefits you in a number of ways. It can help you protect your assets, potentially reduce expenses, improve your chances of custody and visitation, and more.
Here are four tips to use when creating such a plan.
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1. Slow Down
By the time you reach the decision to divorce, you likely just want it to be over and done with. That’s a perfeclty normal feeling, but it’s also a mistake.
It’s vital to slow down and take the time to evaluate your situation. This prevents you from rushing into an unfavorable divorce agreement.
The decisions you make right now have long lasting effects. Once final and in place, it’s difficult and often expensive to change the terms of your divorce agreement. Make sure you can live with the conditions, the split of assets, and any support payments. You have a better chance of fixing any problems now than you do later.
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2. Recruit Help
A big part of your divorce strategy should include seeking the advice and guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer. Every divorce is unique and it’s essential to consult a knowledgeable family law attorney to understand how your specific circumstances affect the process.
A qualified divorce lawyer will educate you on your rights, your options, and provide guidance navigating the divorce process.
Even if you take a do-it-yourself approach, consider meeting a family law attorney. You may not hire them for the long haul, but sometimes with just a consultation they point you in the right direction, offer advice, and let you know if they see any spefic issues you need to be aware of.
If you reach an agreement, it often benefits you to have a professional look over the paperwork to ensure it’s all on the level.
Divorce is also stressful. You shouldn’t overlook the emotional impact and the toll it takes. Working with a therapist may provide useful tools manage stress and cope with a difficult situation.
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3. Establish Precedents
There are a number of ways that establishing a precedent can help you in divorce.
If you have children, being an active, regular part of their existance is important. Not only for them, but also for your custody claim.
The courts are reluctant to drastically change a child’s daily life and routine.
When deciding custody, they evaluate how entrenched each parent is in day-to-day activities. The more involved you are, the more likely it is a custody arrangement will reflect that.
Additionally, as part of your divorce strategy, you shouldn’t move out of the marital home until you create a separation agreement.
Moving out of the marital home can set a precedent that doesn’t accurately portray your financial situation. For example, if you move out, but continue to contribute financially to both households, that may impact how the court rules on support.
Even if you stuggle to keep both households afloat–draining savings, borrowing money, neglecting other obligations–the court may see that as sustainable for the long term. This can turn what you meant as a temporary transition into a permanent responsibility.
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Prioritizing is essential for your divorce. Deciding where you’re willing to compromise, and where you’re not, can save you time, money, and stress.
Emotions tend to flare during divorce. It’s easy to find yourself in a heated battle about an asset you don’t really care about just because you don’t want your ex to have it. If you win, it might feel good for a moment. But in the big picture, it wastes time and money and causes unnecessary stress.
Determine what’s most important to you, what you need, and what you can’t live without.
That’s where you should spend your time and focus your efforts. Not racking hundreds of dollars worth of attorney fees arguing back and forth about who gets the painting of a seascape you found at a garage sale.
Know what you need and want and take the steps to achieve your goals.
Establishing a divorce strategy early on goes a long way to securing a favorable outcome. Not everything will work out to your advantage, but preparing helps increase your odds.
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