When you are either contemplating divorce or whether your spouse has come to you for a divorce, there is no checklist telling you what to do next, right?
Well, here is a short list for you to consider.
1. Don’t react in a way that can hurt you, then or later.
2. Limit conversations with your spouse until you see a divorce attorney.
3. Check on finances to ensure your spouse is not playing games with them. This means you need to learn everything about your assets and debts, as well as your income and expenses.
4. Where applicable, seek marital counseling.
5. Make an appointment with an experienced divorce attorney.
This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list, although you will find many lawyers hawking such lists all over the Internet. You will find whatever you want to find on the Internet about divorce. Pro-husband, anti-husband. Pro and anti wife. Pro and anti mom or dad. It’s all there for the searching.
Resist it, please. This list is in no particular order, either, as you can see, as each relationship is different, and therefore, each divorce is a unique experience.
Let’s go to the list.
1. The immediate reaction is all too often a bad reaction. In the worst case scenario, it is a physical reaction that might wind up with a domestic violence charge against you. A scheming spouse might be trying to goad you into that, so do not take the bait! Hiding anything that will undoubtedly be found later negatively impacts your credibility. The down side is horrible, the up side, not so good. The poor email, text, Facebook post or Tweet can land you in so much trouble it is not even funny. So do not even think about it!
2. The more you argue with your spouse, the more issues you might open up, so try to keep it civil, business-like where possible, and wait to have that in depth conversation until you really know the score from an experienced divorce attorney. I want you to think about something real carefully-if your spouse has come to you seeking a divorce, don’t you think they already have taken the advice of a divorce attorney? Why respond when it is an uneven field? Get your knowledge first.
3. Finances are the key to the future. Hopefully, during the marriage, you know everything about finances, but if you don’t, get on the ball, now. Aside from it being one of the first questions from an attorney, your finances are your future. Make copies of everything.
4. So, how do you find the best marital counselor? Through friends, family, insurance company lists? Nope. The best way to find the best marital counselor is through the experienced divorce attorney. We know them all, good and bad. We know how to describe them to you to see who is the best fit for you. The best marital counselors tend to also be great divorce counselors, and if they cannot save your marriage, they can also try to help you move forward with your divorce. And that brings up to divorce mediators. Again, divorce attorneys know the good ones-and the bad ones.
5. Making an appointment with an experienced divorce attorney. How do I know if they are experienced? Ask around, look at their website, talk with friends, family, etc… Interview the attorney to see if they are a good fit for you. This is an important decision, so make it like you would any other important decision in your life.
Now, let’s end on a more cheery note, not something you were expecting, I am sure. Far too many people get divorced. There are a lot of emotions, a lot spent on attorneys, therapists and experts. At the end of the day, or perhaps a bit longer than that, you will get to the end and move forward with your life. Your world may have been rocked, but think of it this way. We were all built to handle anything that comes our way. We do not have a choice sometimes. So, when you have a choice, make the most of it.