Have you decided to file for divorce? This can be a very positive step, especially if a marriage has caused you significant stress or unhappiness. However, filing for divorce can be a complex process.
This guide can help you figure out what to do, as well as what pitfalls to avoid, when filing for divorce. Navigate this period wisely and you can come out on the other side unscathed. Here are the top ‘do’s and don’ts when you begin the divorce process.
Do: Seek Representation When Filing for Divorce
The legal details of divorce are incredibly complex. In fact, they’re almost prohibitive. For some reason, our nation’s legal system makes marriage very easy–simply sign up for a marriage license, then follow some brief instructions–but makes divorce very difficult. A series of national, state, and local laws can pile on and make filing for divorce overwhelming.
Legal representation by a family law attorney can save you in a divorce. Nobody should represent themself in a divorce, especially if there are disputes over property or children. Not only are family lawyers well-versed with the laws surrounding divorce where you live but they know how to navigate you through it and help protect your interests. Trying to divorce without legal help can be incredibly overwhelming and even costly.
Don’t: Let Your Spouse Change Your Mind
Ending a marriage doesn’t have to be a two-way agreement. There are many cases in which one spouse is blindsided by the other’s choice to file for divorce. However, a healthy marriage requires that both parties are happy. If you’re unhappy, even after working to help fix your marriage with your spouse, then you have every right to move on.
This is unnatural for some people, but try to put your own needs ahead of your spouse’s at this time. Don’t let them make empty promises or try to guilt you into staying in an unhappy marriage. If you’re ready to move on, the choice is yours. The sooner you seek legal representation and begin the divorce process, the better.
Do: Inventory Your Possessions
When you file for divorce, you need to take inventory of your valuable possessions, including property, vehicles, furniture, jewelry, and artwork. Also take account of your finances, including money in bank accounts, stocks, bonds–and, of course, debts. Don’t forget valuables in storage or safety deposit boxes.
What do you own as an individual, and what do you own as a couple? The difference is important and it can affect what you get after the divorce process is over. Try to keep track of household expenses, too, including utilities, insurance, and your mortgage. These expenses also affect who gets what out of a divorce.
Don’t: Hesitate to Reach Out
Feel free to contact your spouse if you have important questions. You may need him or her to disclose certain information, like income and private expenses, during a divorce. You may also want to reach out to your spouse to schedule time with your children. It’s important to stay involved with your children, even if you must do so separately.
At the same time, feel free to reach out to your lawyer for guidance. They know that you may not be familiar with the legal complications of divorce and will gladly guide you through all steps of the process. Is there a certain form or piece of information that you’re missing? They can remind you of what you need to obtain, like bank statements. What happens next? Don’t worry; your lawyer will brief you about any updates, information that they need from you, or the possibility of litigation in court.
Do you have questions about navigating a divorce? How do you begin filing for divorce? Reach out to the Law Offices of Paul Bowen in Palm Harbor, FL, to get started. The legal experts at the Law Offices of Paul Bowen will help you through all stages of a divorce and work hard to ensure your interests are protected.