Divorce is never easy, but if you and your spouse have both decided to do so, then it is likely the best outcome for you and your family’s well-being. Staying together for the children is a myth that has been debunked by behavioral scientists. They discovered that children should see two happy parents who are doing well as individuals rather than in the tension and stressful environment of an unhappy marriage.
As partners in raising your children, you will have to keep them at the core of the divorce. Focus on what is best for your children. Look for a divorce firm that offers mediation and counseling for the family. They will be able to help you both to keep your children’s well-being at the forefront during the process of creating a good parenting plan and custody agreement.
It is also immeasurably important for your children to see you two treating each other with respect and consideration as you go through this process. They will learn how to resolve conflicts, what to expect in their future relationships, and how to approach difficult situations in good faith.
Seek an Uncontested Divorce
This is where your divorce law firm’s mediation team will come in handy. If the two of you can agree about the splitting of assets and a workable child custody agreement, then you can apply for an uncontested divorce.
This means that neither you nor your spouse is accusing the other of being the reason for the marriage’s breakdown. Sometimes people grow apart, and even if you were good partners before, you might no longer be what the other needs. Try to keep the good times in mind and avoid the stress and expense of a contested divorce.
A contested divorce will force your children and family members to become involved and can get ugly very fast. Keeping the process calm and reasonable means that your children are spared the emotional exhaustion and turmoil of being subject to the court system.
Collect all Important Papers and Make Two Copies
The financial aspect of divorcing can often be fraught with emotion and turmoil. Try to remember that whatever financial situation you are in or try to subject your spouse to will be the financial situation your children will spend a significant amount of their time in.
Collect tax forms, tax return invoices, investment portfolio information, mortgage information, and any bills related to joint expenses. Account information for shared bank accounts, investments, insurance, and credit cards should also be collected. Then make two folders of copies of all the information. Each of you should keep one folder and use the folder for the basis of discussing splitting assets.
It is safer to have something like this on hand and use it to settle any questions during mediation than to make assumptions. Even something as simple as a painting that you want to keep is better to discuss and settle than to assume that your spouse is on the same page as you about it.
Consider Hiring a Financial Advisor
It might be helpful to hire an outside financial advisor who is not affiliated with either of your lawyers. This would help keep the process of splitting assets and breaking up debt even easier.
A financial advisor will be able to help you separate marital debt from personal debt, help you establish new lines of credit, advise you on how to close out joint bank accounts, and help create a budget to pay for the divorce fees, legal fees, and moving costs.
Hiring an outside advisor also means that neither of you has to worry about the person being unduly influenced or biased towards either party and can help keep things civilized and amiable.
Before you reach mediation and compile the folders of important papers, it would be helpful for you two to sit down and discuss how you want the future to look. Which of you will have primary custody? Is it possible to share custody and ensure your children’s lives aren’t too disrupted? Who gets to keep the family home? Do mortgage payments become their sole responsibility?
Accept that whichever of you holds primary custody of the children is entitled to childsupport, but agree that they must seek some form of work as well. Your spouse is still responsible for providing for the children but can no longer be expected to provide for you.
If you have consolidated any debt, then seek the financial advisor’s aid in separating the person’s debt. You and your spouse will once again become solely responsible for the debt you brought into the marriage. The financial advisor should be able to help make a plan for settling the shared marital debt.