When you and your spouse are headed for divorce, you may feel as though you have little control over how the proceeding will go or what your life will look like immediately afterward. Divorce is an incredibly emotional process that no couple initially anticipates, and part of the challenge is understanding how your spouse will react to the initial conversation and what they will expect from you during and after the proceeding.
Taking a few steps before confronting your spouse or filing the paperwork can significantly impact both the process and the result. While you will never be able to fully control every aspect of the proceeding, preparation will go a long way toward easing the transition and protecting your interests.
How to Prepare for Divorce: 6 Essential Steps
Every divorce requires a unique approach, but most people benefit from a number of powerful precautionary measures. Here are 6 steps you can take to alleviate some of your stress and avoid unnecessary difficulty.
1. Learn everything you can about the process. Each state has its own steps, terms, and laws, and understanding what you can expect from the legal system will help you create reasonable goals. New York law, for example, requires the judge to divide marital assets equitably, rather than equally. They will consider a variety of factors before establishing a final arrangement.
2. Decide whether to try for mediation. Some believe mediation is unrealistic. If they can’t get along with their spouse, they say, how are they supposed to come to a peaceful arrangement during their divorce? However, trained mediators and collaborative divorce practitioners specialize in de-escalating conflict, facilitating trust, and establishing terms that benefit both parties. Involving an objective third-party can remove some of the emotion from the confrontation and provide a focused path toward a fair resolution.
3. Prepare financially. Becoming financially independent from your spouse is a difficult transition for everyone, even for those who consider themselves the breadwinners in their relationship. Avoid spending more than necessary. Save what you can, and, if possible, establish separate bank accounts. Furthermore, do your best to estimate the cost of the divorce itself. Be prepared for fees which may be very high if you and your spouse must litigate the matter in court.
4. Tell your children about the divorce in a calm and predetermined manner. If you have children with your spouse, or if your spouse was not their biological parent but was significantly involved in their lives for years, take the time to plan what you are going to say. If possible, break the news as a united front. Your children will need support as they adjust to this drastic change, so help them navigate this transition by reassuring them that they are loved and that this isn’t their fault. Furthermore, treating your co-parent with respect will reduce emotional turmoil and stress within your children.
5. Consider finding a therapist. Even though divorce may be what you need for your long-term health and happiness, the transition may be psychologically devastating. A professional can provide you with the tools and support you need to navigate this challenging time and secure the foundations you need for a successful and fulfilling future. If your relationship was toxic or abusive, therapy can help you cope with the pain or trauma you endured. Taking this step now will help you heal and avoid carrying psychological burdens with you for years after the divorce.
6. Seek legal counsel and/or representation. Whether or not your divorce is contested (“uncontested” means that you and your spouse agree to the terms of your divorce and “contested” means that you don’t agree to most of the issues involved in your divorce), professional legal support will help you achieve your objectives. Many believe compromise is the cornerstone of marriage, and while divorce may signify an end to the sacrifices you might have made for your partner’s happiness, compromise must be careful, precise and carefully applied during a divorce. This is the time for you to be aware of what you’re legally entitled to and what your financial needs are. A skilled attorney will not only help you navigate the legal obstacles you may face but also support you every step of the way towards your independence.
In many cases, slowing the process down will help you act with deliberate care and foresight. The better you prepare, the sooner you can attain the sense of relief and freedom you deserve.
Contact Our Firm for Additional Support and Dedicated Representation
At Law Offices of Sandra M. Radna, P.C., our attorneys combine unmatched legal skill and genuine compassion to provide the comprehensive support our clients need in the most challenging times of their lives. We understand what you are going through, and we will work tirelessly to help you overcome the legal hurdles of divorce.
Let us stand by your side. Schedule your initial consultation with a divorce lawyer or call to speak with our team at (631) 400-3342 today.