How to Strategically Plan for a Divorce
Strategic planning sounds like something one does when fighting a war. And, in truth, many divorces are much like a war, with opposing sides, each trying to win the battle and take home the spoils. Sad as this seems, especially as at one time there was love and the hope of a future lifetime together, it is a reality, for at least 50% of the marriages in the US will end in divorce. So, as in war, it is best to strategically plan, usually and most advisably, with the help of an experienced Family Law attorney. Whether you are the party initiating the divorce or the party responding to the divorce petition, there are some important things to think about and plan for as you sensibly strategize through your divorce proceedings.
Right from the beginning, as soon as you know for sure there will be a divorce, you need to prepare your emotional reaction to upcoming events. Don’t try to “go it alone” as all too often the emotional pain becomes so severe a spouse will “sell out” to the opposing spouse just to “get it over with”. Family, friends, counselors, and spiritual leaders as well as a truly caring Family Law attorney will help you through and out the other side with the best resolution possible and hope for a better life in the future.
Speaking of a Family Law attorney, unless you have a simple, uncontested divorce involving no marital real estate or minor children, it is wise to find an attorney experienced in handling divorces. Check with family, friends, and online websites for information to attorneys who practice in your jurisdiction. Make a list of what is important to you for representation and select three or four attorneys who seem to meet your requirements. Most attorneys have a free, initial, in-office consultation to give a chance for answering questions and finding out about personality, cost, and legal process. Choose the one you feel the most comfortable with, can afford and seems to really care about your individual case.
In many states, a mediation is required before a court date can be set, so make sure an attorney has handled these as well and has a positive feeling about trying for a marital settlement. Mediation is a great strategy to help finalize proceedings, save considerable costs, and allow a couple to be in charge of their final outcome, not just being subject to a judge’s decision.
Gather your information and proof about finances, assets, liabilities, and most importantly, what you hope for in the final outcome. No one ever gets all they want, but a well thought out plan will help, especially in a mediation where compromise is the big word. Make sure your attorney has all the evidence to help in his or her representation. When you fill out the required financial disclosure be sure to tell it all and tell the truth. Omitting and falsifying, if found out, will severely hurt your case.
Learn all you can about the legal requirements in your state, (each state is different) regarding the guidelines for obtaining a divorce. Your attorney will help. You can also go online and check your state’s statutes for divorce. Knowing what you will be facing and how it might affect your case will help you strategize what outcomes will be realistic to ask for. For example, in Florida, there are six types if alimony to choose from – which is best for you?
Don’t forget the people in your life, especially children, who will be affected by your divorce. Strategize as to how best to tell them what is and will be happening. The truth is best, sugar coated when necessary, and always with the reassurance of your continued love and friendship. Expect anger, guilt, and sometimes rejection but keep on caring and loving. Unconditional love is a great strategy.
Finally, as you move through the legal process surrounding your divorce, develop a strategy for what you plan to do following the final decree. How and where you hope to live? How much income will you need to remake and carry on with your new life? What is most important in terms of “things” you hope to bring from your former life? If there are minor children, what issues need to be a part of the parenting plan (required in most states) you and your spouse will draw up and agree to? The future is yours and you surely want to make the most of it. By thinking positive, doing your homework, having a forward moving attitude, and using strategic divorce planning, life after divorce can be successful, and it’s even possible, it can be better.
If you live in Florida in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, or Orange County or in Washington DC, Attorney Grant Gisondo, an experienced Family Law attorney, offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where he will meet with you personally to answer questions and share how he can help. Call 561-530-4568 for an appointment. He will gladly help you with strategizing your divorce.