If you have not already done so, you should seek the counsel of a divorce lawyer, sooner rather than later so you know your rights and are educated on your options. An attorney will help you determine how best to proceed in your specific situation. Talk to a lawyer before you tell your spouse you want to part ways, before you move out, before you sign anything. This may feel dishonest, but it’s actually just protecting yourself.
Be Careful of What You Say
Hopefully, your divorce can be settled amicably. Even so, be aware that anything you say – in person, in a text, over the telephone or otherwise – could be used against you by your spouse or his/her attorney. Lawyers are very good at twisting words and using them against folks, so if you admit you can pay your expenses, that you expect a pay raise, that you should get a job, or just about anything, a clever attorney can find a way to use it. As painful a concept as it may be, your spouse is not your best friend anymore, and you need to be careful of what you say to him or her. Some of your friends may side with your spouse, and they may reveal to your spouse things you tell them in confidence. Remember – what you tell your family law attorney is protected by privilege, but what you say to friends and family is not! Friends and family can be deposed and called into Court and forced to reveal what you told them. We are not suggesting that you isolate yourself and make your family law team your only friends. You just need to be careful what you say and to whom you say it. (This is even more true for written communications, which become exhibits in legal proceedings.)
Embrace Your Independence
Depending on your perspective, you could be celebrating your divorce and reveling in your rediscovered or newfound freedom, or you could be heartbroken. You might be angry, scared, uncertain where to begin, or you might be excited that you no longer have to consult someone else before choosing a paint color or an automobile. If the new freedom is intimidating and you feel insecure, remember that you weren’t always married. You will be able to do this.
Apples and Oranges
Divorce law contains almost no hard rules or clear answers. Instead, the law in almost every situation gives the trial judge a wide degree of discretion to make whatever ruling the judge believes is fair. As a result, you shouldn’t compare your case to your friends. This leads to unrealistic expectations based on stories that have nothing to do with your specific facts or your specific judge.
There are no two ways about it; divorce cases take time. Even when both spouses and both lawyers are committed to moving things forward as quickly as possible, it usually takes many months to gather all of the necessary information, discuss options, make strategic decisions, exchange proposals and either settle the case or take it to trial. If you have set your mind on a quick resolution, you might be unprepared for the time the case takes which could lead to frustration and rushed decisions.
Reading this blog is a good start. Try to learn as much as possible about your own financial situation, what assets and debts you and your spouse have, your budget, the divorce process and divorce laws. Gather copies of financial documents such as tax returns, financial account statements, spreadsheets, and others. If you have evidence that might be relevant to your divorce case, make sure you keep it in a safe place; preferable not in the house or on the home computer. Finally, make an appointment with a seasoned divorce attorney.