Deciding to divorce can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. At first, you may have an initial euphoria of resolution; you might even feel as if you have a new sense of purpose. The next day, you may feel like you jumped off a cliff into an abyss. Did you make the right decision? Before you file, seek professional divorce help.
Professional Divorce Help is Forward-Thinking
Too often, couples rush to file for divorce so they can move on with their lives. Unfortunately, they sometimes discover they made some hasty, emotional decisions that can cost them time and money later.
Collaborative divorce focuses on communication. This is critical, especially if you have children. You may end your marriage, but you will always have a family together. You will always be co-parents and your children’s needs come first. Your collaborative divorce professionals will include attorneys for each spouse, and usually a communication specialist and a financial neutral. Some collaborative divorces also include a child specialist. They will help you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse communicate to reach mutually agreeable outcomes that benefit your family.
Before You File…
There are several steps to take before you file for divorce. After step number one, these are in no particular order.
1. Consult an Attorney
Imagine a divorce outside of the courtroom. It’s no surprise that having a non-litigious collaborative divorce can save you time, money and stress. Collaborative divorce help is a three-pronged approach: legal, financial and communication.
The skills you gain while working with your team of professionals will offer divorce help, as well as benefits into your future. A former client at the end of the divorce process once stated, “I communicate better with my child’s father than I ever have.” Hiring an attorney you trust right away will help to make sure your divorce is on the right track from the start.
2. Lose Your Emotional Baggage
Communication coaching may be the most beneficial, long-term divorce help you’ll receive. During this process, you’ll learn ways to discuss and resolve issues with respect and kindness. These skills can help you in your personal and professional life. Your children will feel less stress when they see you and your spouse are still a “team” and that although sometimes feelings change, your family remains strong.
3. Seek Financial Guidance
Assets and debts are part of your financial picture. You need to determine what you own and what you owe. During a collaborative divorce, a neutral financial professional can help you make decisions that will work for you and your family in the long run.
4. Gather Proof of Income
Your last tax return and most recent pay stub will give your attorney a good starting point. They’ll let you know what other specific documents they need. In a collaborative divorce, the neutral financial professional will guide both spouses through the process of gathering the necessary information.
5. Make a Post-Divorce Budget
Your attorney, communication specialist and financial neutral will be able to help you make decisions about what kind of settlement regarding alimony (spousal maintenance) or child support is right for your family situation. By building your post-divorce budget now, you’ll be able to face the future more confidently.
6. Establish Credit as an Individual
If you have nothing in your name, it’s time to change that. Whether it’s a utility bill or a line of credit, make sure you take the opportunity to that will help build your credit. Remember to make timely payments, regardless of the status of your divorce.
7. Make a Plan for Your Children
If you have children, try to shield them from any arguments between you and your spouse. If you’re having trouble respectfully talking to each other, meet with a communication specialist to learn tips on how to interact during and after your divorce. Remember to put your children’s needs first.
8. Talk About Your Living Arrangement
During a divorce, some couples remain living together; others separate immediately. Other couples work together to split their time at the family home, so their children can live in one place. The right living arrangement will depend on your situation. Talk to your collaborative divorce professionals if you want divorce help regarding your living situation.
9. Take Care of Yourself
During a divorce, it’s important to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally. Don’t give in to despair that lends itself to overeating or overdrinking. Continue to socialize, exercise, sleep well, and do whatever else makes you happy.
Arizona Collaborative Divorce Help
Many couples choose to avoid courtroom drama. Before you file, learn if a collaborative divorce is right for you. Contact Best Legal Choices to learn more today.
Specializing in collaborative divorce, mediation, and family and juvenile law matters, Kristine has over two decades of experience working with children and families experiencing difficult transitional life events.