Divorce is difficult no matter how you look at it – some might even say there is no winner in a divorce. But unfortunately, bad situations occur – lying, cheating and abuse happens in marriages every day, which often time leads to divorce. So, the point of our post today is to give some advice not to those of you going through a “friendly” or cooperative divorce with your spouse, but to those who are expecting a hotly contested or ugly divorce process.
With that in mind, here are our top 5 tips on how to get the best possible outcome out of your divorce settlement:
1. Build a winning team. You might be thinking “A team? I have to go out and hire a team?” Consider though, that how your divorce is handled could impact the rest of your life, and in some cases even make or break your financial security. Everyone’s individual situation is different, but everyone should at least find an experienced, reputable attorney who specializes in divorce and family law. Ideally, they should handle divorce cases approximately 75% of the time. It’s also important that you feel very comfortable with whomever you choose. If you don’t feel completely at ease and trusting of the attorney you are working with, it would be best to find someone else!
In addition to an expert divorce attorney, you also might find it beneficial to add a Divorce Financial Planner to your team. These people are financial experts who work hand-in-hand with your divorce attorney to fully understand the short and long-term financial and tax implications of your specific divorce settlement proposal.
Lastly, a good therapist can help you (and your children) work through the emotional and psychological impacts of a divorce. They can help you work through the multitude of emotions that you will encounter during and after the divorce process, and come out the other side stronger and a better person.
2. Don’t leave the marital home. If you want to stay in your home with your children during the divorce process or you think you might want to stay in your home after the divorce, don’t move out during the divorce process. If you move out, the court could say you gave your spouse “de facto possession.” If you have children, it is definitely more beneficial for them to stay in their home as well during this emotionally charged time of change. Speak with your divorce attorney if you would like to have exclusive access to the marital home during the divorce process
3. Protect your assets. People do all kinds of crazy things during a divorce. It is not uncommon for spouses to hide assets, spend excessively, rack up credit cards, or do whatever they want with assets. It’s a good idea before, or at the beginning of your divorce process, to inventory your assets, keep good records and collect any financial documents y that will be helpful in determining if assets are being reported fairly. This includes income tax returns, credit card bills, loan statements, and bank statements. Several years’ worth is ideal.
4. Assume anything you say will be played back in court. Any kind of altercation with your ex could be played back and used against you in court. That goes for emails, texts, voicemails, Facebook posts, and anything else you put out there on social media. To protect yourself, don’t talk bad about your ex, especially in front of your children. This might be very difficult for you, depending on your situation, but again, crazy things happen during a divorce, and things you said to someone you thought you could trust could end up in court. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Would I want the judge to hear or read this?” If not, don’t say it or send that text. Take the high road and you’ll be glad in the end!
5. Think with your brain, not your heart. One of the hardest aspects of divorce for many people is to remove the emotion from the process. Divorce by nature is very painful, emotionally! However, it is critical to your future that you set your emotions aside and make rational, logical, well-thought-out decisions during this time. Poor decisions based on emotions can have long-lasting effects for you and your family. Don’t let anger and frustration determine your decisions, as tough as it may be. If you find this to be difficult or even seemingly impossible, this is a good time to rely on your divorce team: your divorce attorney, your divorce coach, and your therapist can all help guide you to unemotional, rational decisions.
Navigating the rocky road of divorce can be draining and difficult. If you need help or advice about your specific situation, please feel free to give us a call at 714.841.1931 to schedule a free consultation. We can direct you to the appropriate resources for your personal situation.
Disclaimer – The materials contained in this blog have been prepared for informational purposes only. The information contained is general in nature, and may not apply to particular factual or legal circumstances. In any event, the materials do not constitute legal advice or opinions and should not be relied up on as such.