A divorce is a disruptive event not just for the individuals involved but also for their families. The process can be emotionally and mentally exhausting, so staying prepared is essential. Still, there are many angles to worry about when involved in that challenging situation.
It will take a toll on your emotions, especially when you feel invested with your partner for decades. It will also affect your finances, as you must consider splitting assets, spousal support, and child custody. Your career, social life, and family relationships will also suffer from minor to significant changes due to divorce. Moreover, it can have a psychological effect on you.
And then, of course, there are the legal aspects to contend with when going through a divorce. The paperwork, the court appearances, and the sometimes-complex financial settlements can be daunting.
You don’t have to go through it alone, though. Here are some tips on how to deal with the legal side of divorce.
Separate Wealth and Assets
You and your partner have probably accumulated much wealth and assets over the years. These include your house, savings, investments, retirement accounts, and debt.
When you divorce, you will have to split these assets between you. This strategy can be a complex and emotional process, especially if you have been married for a long time. Also, you might be prone to mistakes.
It is important to remember that all assets are not equal. Some may be more important to you than others. For example, you may get attached to your family home but be willing to give up your share of the retirement account to keep it.
It would help if you also kept in mind that some assets may not be worth as much as you think. For example, your home may have decreased in value since you bought it, or your investments may have lost money.
You and your partner will need to decide how to divide your assets in a way that is fair to both of you. This step may require the help of a financial advisor or mediator.
Calculate Your Support Payments
You may be eligible for spousal support payments if you divorce after a long marriage. These are monthly payments from one spouse to the other to help maintain their living standards after divorce.
The amount of spousal support depends on many factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity, and whether minor children are involved.
A support order can be temporary or permanent and can be modified in the future if there is a significant change in circumstances.
If you are paying spousal support, you may be able to deduct the payments on your taxes. And if you are receiving support, the prices are taxable income.
Be prepared to provide financial documentation, such as tax returns and pay stubs, to help calculate the correct amount of support.
Create a Parenting Plan
If you have minor children, you must create a parenting plan outlining how they will get raised after divorce. This plan should include details such as where the kids will live, which adult will make significant decisions about their education and health care, and how much time they will spend with each parent.
It is important to remember that your parenting plan should be in the best interests of your children. It should be flexible enough to account for changes in your life, such as a new job or a move to a new city.
The parenting plan should also be realistic and achievable. For example, it would not be practical to expect equal time with your children if you live in different states.
You and your spouse will need to agree on the terms of the parenting plan. If you cannot reach an agreement, the court will decide for you.
Get Help from a Lawyer
Divorce is a complex legal process, and both sides might not come to a peaceful agreement. Unfortunately, it could lead to an exhausting experience that ultimately gets you nowhere. As a result, getting help from a family lawyer is essential if you are going through one. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and responsibilities and represent you in court.
Look for a lawyer who has experience handling divorce cases and is familiar with the laws in your state. You should also feel comfortable communicating with your lawyer and be able to trust them to handle your case sensitively. Your current family lawyer might not do it, especially when the contact comes from your spouse. You might need a new one, but it is worth the service when you get out of the messy divorce satisfied.
Divorce is never easy, but understanding the legal process can help make it less daunting. Knowing what to expect and getting help from a qualified lawyer can protect your interests and make the best decisions for yourself and your family.