What Do I Need to Know Before Getting a Divorce?

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At the end of a marriage, the entire family will go through a lot of stress. Divorcing spouses and children will experience new custody schedules and living arrangements. Individuals who are divorcing will also have to determine who is entitled to certain financial accounts, business assets, and property. 

If you’re informed about the process of divorce before you file, you can likely get through the divorce quicker and receive a fair ruling. Here are a few important things to know before getting a divorce.

You Won’t “Win” Your Case

Don’t go into divorce proceedings with the intent to “beat” your spouse. Often, there isn’t a “winner” in divorce. Many divorces involve several like financial support, child custody, and property division. Most divorcing spouses don’t end up getting everything they want once the divorce is final. 

For instance, one spouse may receive physical custody of the children, but they could receive much less spousal support than he/she requested in court. Trying to determine who is winning and who is losing in a divorce is not beneficial. 

It’s important to think about the possible outcomes of a messy divorce before you decide that you want to end your marriage. Divorce is very expensive, and your children will feel the negative effects of divorce as well, which means no one really comes out a “winner.”

Think It Through

When you end your marriage, you’ll have to consider several life-changing decisions. You may have to determine whether you’ll sell the family home, and whether you’ll stay in your current city or move to a new location. This means you’ll also have to think about where you’ll send your children to school and how you’ll establish a new community of support. 

Don’t be impulsive just to get the divorce over with. Think about the consequences of each decision to ensure the choice will be best for you and your children in the long run.

Make Sure You Really Want to Get Divorced

This may seem like an obvious step in the divorce process, but it’s important to acknowledge that getting divorced can be very emotional. You should make sure you’ve tried everything you can to reconcile with your spouse before you make the choice to end your marriage. It’s difficult to go back on your decision once you’ve filed from divorce and served your spouse divorce documents. 

The courts can grant a divorce even if only one spouse agrees to end the marriage. If you think you want to try marital counseling, it’s best to hire a counselor before you file for divorce.

Interview Divorce Attorneys

You should interview several attorneys before filing for divorce. It’s important to choose a lawyer who understands your needs and your goals when it comes to settling the divorce. Steer clear of lawyers who provide solutions for your divorce before they hear the specifics of your case. Before you commit to an attorney you’ll want to consider:

  • The price point of the lawyer
  • Whether the lawyer has experience with complicated or intricate divorces
  • Whether the lawyer specializes in property division
  • Whether the attorney has experience with child support and custody

These factors will let you know which divorce attorney is most qualified to handle your case. You should contact an experienced family law attorney, but keep in mind that they will also decide if you are the right client for them. According to California divorce lawyer B. Robert Farzad, “We interview you as much as you interview us.”

Know the Details of Visitation and Child Custody

One of the most contentious issues in a divorce is child custody. You should be aware that custody isn’t an all-or-nothing arrangement. Judges are supposed to rule in the child’s best interest when it comes to visitation and custody. This means that the courts will see to it that both parents are involved in the child’s life as much as possible. 

The ideal ruling in most custody situations is joint custody. This means both parents make decisions regarding a child’s life, medical treatments, and religious influences. Sole legal custody indicates that one parent makes major decisions for the child(ren), but this is not as common these days. 

Joint legal custody means that the child lives with one parent for half of the year and with the other parent for the other half of the year. This may not be logical in some instances, so the court will often give one parent sole physical custody and award the other parent with a schedule for visitation.

Of course, there are many things to consider before and during a divorce. If you feel that ending your marriage is best for you and your family, thinking through all your options can help you make arrangements that are best for everyone involved.

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