Sunday, January 1, 2017

How to Slowly Prepare for a Divorce

Having Time to Think and Plan
If you are not in an emergency situation or under pressure to make quick decisions, you can actually prepare for a divorce that can be fairly rational.  That's not to say that you and your spouse will not act irrationally from time to time.  That happens. For some people, there is an opportunity to research and plan so that going through a divorce is not just reacting to a sudden situation.

If you have time to prepare, here are some suggestions for how to start on a divorce.

1.  Do you have some money?  If not, you need to accumulate some or find a source to lend money to you.  Not only will you have to pay legal expenses, but you will have to find a way to financially create and support two households out of one.  There will be all kinds of new expenses.  Even though you may hate to do so, you may have to borrow money from family or friends or banks.  Keep your options open.  If someone offers to help, don't turn them down.

2.  Do you have a place to live?  You may be able to continue sharing a residence with your spouse while the divorce is pending, but you probably won't want to.  Or, your spouse may want to move out.  Can you afford to keep your current residence? Or, can you afford a new residence?

3.  Do you have a way to protect your children?  You may have a mature, cooperative relationship with the other parent, but you may not.  Hopefully, you can lay the groundwork to start a cooperative parenting relationship with your spouse. You don't want the kids to be a pawn between the adults in your divorce.

4.  Do you have a way to support yourself?  If you aren't working, you need to find a job or start updating your training.  If at all possible, you need to be financially independent.  If that's not realistic, at least find a job or upgrade your job or skills.

5.  Do you have a plan for the future?  You need to think ahead about starting over in every facet of your life.  Don't fall into just reacting to what's going on with a divorce.  Do some planning and get help setting up plans and goals.

6.  Have you discussed divorce with your spouse?  If you can, and it wouldn't spook your spouse into over-reacting, you should gently bring up the topic.  Chances are, your spouse has been considering it also.  On the other hand, springing a surprise on the other spouse can create a lot of anger, which means you have a more difficult and expensive divorce.

7.  Will the split be peaceful?  Some are and some aren't.  You need to try to figure that out.  That's useful information to share with your attorney since it will probably determine how the divorce starts.

What to do:  Research attorneys and find someone nearby who does Collaborative divorces.  Work with an experienced Collaborative attorney if you want to keep things private and peaceful.  Good luck.