Don’t forget these critical steps leading up to your divorce

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Whenever a couple files for divorce, there are plenty of things to handle on the legal side. The divorcee neds to deal with property and asset division; possible alimony; and the enforcement of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements (if they are present).

But in addition to the legal and procedural aspects to a divorce, any divorcee needs to perform a number of personal tasks as well to ensure that the divorce is a successful one. Many people are not aware of these crucial steps in the divorce process; they may skip them entirely, culminating in disastrous results. So here are a few things to remember when you file for divorce:

  • Do a little housecleaning… but not necessarily literally: You want to find some important documents that pertain to your personal, financial and legal holdings. For example, past tax filings are important to have during a divorce, as are records of credit card bills and bank accounts. You’ll also want hypersensitive documents, such as paperwork that pertains to wills or estates.
  • If you have kids, address child custody and support issues as soon as possible: How much will you pay, or receive, in child support? How will you and your soon-to-be-ex split payments for college tuition? Whose health insurance plan will your child be placed under? You’ll want to know where you and your spouse stand on these things, and subsequently handle them in an appropriate manner. Reaching an agreement before going to court can be greatly beneficial.
  • Prepare for the claims you want to make: Consult an attorney so that you can build the best possible case for earning retirement benefits, valuable assets and other things involved in your divorce that you really want.

Source: Huffington Post, “We’re Getting A Divorce, Now What?,” Linda Descano, July 29, 2013

Spouses not always on the same page when it comes to divorce

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There is a theory that women fall in love before men. In fact, many movies play on this notion as a female character becomes upset when a man says “thank you” after the woman says “I love you.” While it may be a spark of comedy for sitcoms, but it is more real than one might think.

Not based on gender at all, many couples are not on the same page when it comes to wanting adivorce. In some cases a souse may never want a divorce, so how does someone approach a conversation that they know the other spouse doesn’t want to have or may be unprepared for?

The first thing to think about is saying the words “I want a divorce.” Is there anything causing the trepidation besides having an uncomfortable conversation? The the fear is over safety, don’t have the conversation and raise the concerns with an attorney immediately.

While discussing divorce with an attorney is very important in the above situation, it is more than helpful in any situation. The more information a spouse has about divorce, the better prepared they will be for the conversation too.

When it comes to the conversation itself, two things go a long way. Being respectful and being direct. First off, remember that if the other spouse is either unprepared or unwilling to get a divorce, the news will most likely come as a shock. Skirting the issue won’t help, which is why it is good to be direct and why information from an attorney can help.

Last, understand that the conversation may be an ongoing one. In some instances, a spouse who truly doesn’t want the divorce may never be ready. In this type of situation, the attorney can provide help based on the specific circumstances.

Source: The Huffington Post, “How to Bring up Divorce When Your Spouse Doesn’t Want One,” Alison Heller, June 11, 2013

Litigious divorce can be avoided if you prepare

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Orlando residents are well aware of the national divorce rate, which hovers around 50 percent. So many people get divorced these days that it pays (quite literally) to be prepared. That’s why the idea of a prenuptial agreement is no longer taboo when a couple gets married; and it is also why couples who are doing well after they get a divorce were prepared for their split.

This will sound bizarre, but to some people who are entering divorce proceedings, the whole thing is essentially a game. They take pride in “winning” the divorce, more so than they care about the actual aspects of the divorce. For example, if a prized asset is at the center of a dispute between you and your spouse — an asset he or she does not really care about, but you do — they may spur costly (and unnecessary) litigation just to try to “win” that aspect of the divorce. It could also be that this litigation is an attempt to make you cave in on the divorce.

Of course, there are also extremely litigious divorces that have meaning — where property, bank accounts, retirement accounts and numerous other things are on the line. For a spouse who may not be in control of things before the divorce, they need to prepare so that they can be in the best possible position after it.

This means closing any joint accounts that you and your spouse share. Get your own credit cards and accounts so that you can handle everything once the divorce is over. Also, make copies of important documents pertaining to your marriage. It will help you navigate the divorce more smoothly.

Source: USA Today, “Protect your finances while divorcing a bully,” Elizabeth MacBride, June 23, 2013