A divorce should not be something that you rush into by any means. No matter what other people tell you about how easy their divorce was or how happy they are after the divorce, you need to take these bits of information with a grain of salt. If we are being honest with ourselves, he probably needs to take them with multiple grains of salt. The reason for this is because people tend to not be completely honest about parts of their life that have been unpleasant or less than pretty. Think about your own social media presence and those of your friends. How often do you see the nitty gritty of someone's life get on social media as opposed to the nice things the flowery things that make us think that their life is completely put together and that everything is just fine.
I'm not even saying that any of this is a bad thing. It would be normal to want to project the best possible image of ourselves to those around us. The difference is that we are living through a time where our lives are more online and more available to other people than any other generation prior to ours. As a result, you may find that people’s opinions and experiences surrounding divorce may not line up exactly with how the reality of their divorce occurred. That's not even to get into how their divorce may be completely different and have completely different circumstances than yours.
With that said, if you are contemplating divorce then you should take advantage of one resource that may not always be available to you: time. You will find that once your divorce is filed you do not have as much time on your hands as you would have liked. It is not that a divorce itself is completely overwhelming in terms of the requirements and stages of the case. The reality is that your life will continue to go on despite the divorce. This means that your children, your work, your interests in the sheer limitations of time come into play in addition to the work requirements of an actual divorce case. When you consider it from this perspective your life is going to be that much fuller during the divorce, so it is better to plan ahead when you have a little bit of time on your side.
Planning a divorce and thinking ahead to a divorce does not mean that you have to give up on your marriage. I will say, however, that it is darn near impossible to ride two horses at the same time period this means that if you want to commit yourself to either course it is best to pick a horse and start to ride. You cannot commit yourself to saving your marriage when you are actively working to get a divorce at night. Do not think that you can plan your marriage reconciliation during the day and then as a backup plan go about dividing up, you're a state in the evenings. Before you choose a direction to go it is time to think which is the reality that you want to plan for yourself and which serves the best interests of your children better.
Going into a divorce without a plan is a really bad idea. This is true for multiple reasons. The first is that there are many moving pieces in connection with the divorce. You have issues surrounding your property, your children, your personal life, your work life, and your finances. To think that you can enter into a process where all of these issues are going to get shaken up and to do so without a plan would be foolish. As a result, I highly recommend coming up with a plan for yourself prior to filing a divorce. Without a plan in place there is no way that you can adapt to changes within the divorce and think ahead to what you want to accomplish in your post-divorce life.
That is where I would like to start today's blog post. I have three pieces of advice that I would like to share with you in relation to beginning a divorce the right way. These pieces of advice will come in the form of questions that you need to ask yourself prior to starting a divorce and forever changing the direction of your life, your spouse’s life and that of your children. Many people get divorced and many people will tell you that getting divorce was a good thing for them and their families. However, you seriously need to ask yourself the following questions before you know that a divorce is right for you and your family.
Is your marriage salvageable?
I think this is the most basic question that a person can ask themselves one considering a divorce and is where you need to start your planning for a possible divorce. No matter how frustrated you are with your marriage or with your spouse you should not look at a divorce as a quick fix or as a one size fits all solution to your problems. Many times, we look for the easy way out or for the path of least resistance when it comes to working out problems. This is especially true as we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic where recovery is what is on everyone's mind. If you have concerns and stresses in your life that are associated with your marriage or anything else, you should not look to a divorce as a way to solve every issue that you have been going through.
If you do have problems in your marriage and you are seriously considering divorce you need to 1st think about your marriage in terms of whether or not you can save it. This does not necessarily mean that you should think about whether or not you are willing to put forth the effort. In marriage, there are two things that you need to ask yourself honestly about whether your marriage is salvageable: the first is whether or not your spouse is going to be willing to work with you to save the marriage in the second is what are you willing to give up to save the marriage?
It takes 2 to tango in a marriage. You cannot expect that your efforts alone will be able to save your marriage and I helped to avoid a divorce. Both you and your spouse need to be committed towards solving the problems within the relationship. This means that you all have to communicate about your problems, agree that there is a problem, be willing to work on those problems and then constantly reinforce the lessons that you learn along the way.
Some issues in marriages can be dealt with in fairly quick fashion with the changes in behavior. Other problems are longstanding and require a great deal of communication, effort in therapy in many cases. Only you and your spouse know the nature of your marriage and the nature of the problems within your relationship. Mean you need to begin to work on them sooner rather than later in order to expect any changes for the better.
The other point I will make about asking yourself whether or not the marriage is salvageable is to determine whether or not you are willing to give up certain things to save your marriage. Think about it in terms of how people tried to lose weight. Most people are willing to go for a 30-minute walk at night or to hit the gym five times a week to workout. Adding behavior into our weekly routines is not that big of a deal. The real issue most people have, when it comes to losing weight is not doing certain things that we have become accustomed to. Snacking late at night, watching too much TV, flipping through our phones on the couch and other behaviors like this are difficult to give up. The same goes for behavior in your marriage that you need to stop. Are you willing to give things up in order to save your marriage?
What do you want to accomplish with in your divorce?
If you determine that you do need to get a divorce, then the next question you need to ask yourself is what are your goals for the divorce? I don't just mean coming up with generalized and boilerplate language type goals. I mean that you need to ask yourself what the specific goals for specific areas of your life are that you seek to accomplish within the divorce. Think about all the different areas of your life that are going to be impacted by this divorce and then come up with goals that are specific to each of those areas.
In regard to your children, do you want to become the primary conservator of your kids and determine where they live on a primary basis? How much child support will you be needing if that is the case? Does one of your children have a special need where you believe that you are in a position to make exclusive decisions in regard to their schooling or health? If so, you need to be very specific with yourself on what your goals are and where you see your children in the future.
The same goes for your property. Do you want to remain in the family house after the divorce? How much money will it take for you to make the bills each month and pay the mortgage? It does that work within the confines of your budget considering your monthly income. How much retirement do you believe is necessary for you to protect within the divorce? Do you have personal property that is separately owned by you and therefore should not be a part of the property division? You need to begin to organize your financial life and come up with concrete goals for your finances after the divorce.
How are you going to accomplish your goals?
again, you need to be specific about the means by which you are actually going to accomplish your goals. The bottom line is that you need to be very intentional about the path you take within the divorce to accomplish the goals you have. For instance, do you plan on hiring a family law attorney to represent you? In most divorce cases it is absolutely essential that you do hire a family law attorney to help you accomplish goals. However, some divorces do not necessarily require the services of an attorney. You need to be very honest with yourself and determine whether or not you will be hiring a lawyer.
Once you make a determination on whether or not to hire an attorney you should then consider the chances of your case being able to work themselves out through negotiation or whether a trial will likely be necessary to accomplish the goals you have in mind. As a general rule, the more willing you are to be flexible in accomplishing those goals and the more willing you are to communicate with your spouse throughout the divorce the more possible it is for you to settle your case rather than drag the case out through to a trial. However, if your goals are more concrete or if you believe you need to be more aggressive in your goal setting than a trial is likely going to be necessary.
Questions about the material presented in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material presented in today's blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about our office and about the services that we provide to our clients. Thank you for your interest in our law office and we hope you will join us again tomorrow on our blog.