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Out with the Old...in with the New...Planning for Divorce

January 22, 2018

As we begin a new year, many of us look to the future and begin to plan changes in our lives. Unfortunately, for many people the old adage “out with the old and in with the new” involves ending a marriage or other long-term relationship. As with any other major change in life, it is important to plan for a possible divorce or separation. Therefore, as we begin 2018 it might be helpful to review a few tips in planning for an impending divorce.

  1. Seek counseling/therapy- Prior to ending any major relationship it is important to reflect on the amount of time, energy, and effort that is been put into the relationship. For many people contemplating the end to, what may be temporarily, and unhappy marriage may seem daunting. Therefore, it is important to attempt marriage counseling or relationship therapy with your partner prior to making a final decision on terminating the marriage. Everyone wins if the relationship can be saved. Unfortunately that is not always the case therefore the following tips may help you prepare.
  2. Cease all social media activities- More information can be gained from posts made by people on social media. Anything that is posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram can be used in a divorce proceeding. As the warning goes anything you say may and will be used against you in court. Because social media is everywhere and so easily accessed, it is important to stop any posting prior to contemplating a separation or divorce. Even if your spouse does not have access to your posts, you can be assured their friends or relatives do.
  3. Gather all financial and other important documents and records- Many people who are contemplating a divorce do not think about making sure they have their financial records in order, and in a safe location. Many times the other spouse handles household finances. Nevertheless, it is important to gather all important financial documents and other records prior to a separation. These documents include bank account records, credit card bills and records, mortgages, investment and retirement account records, and any wills or powers of attorney. It is important that these documents be located and placed in a safe location where you can access them should a separation begin.
  4. Think about your life post separation- It is important to begin to think about your goals once you and your spouse are divorced. How do you see parenting your children with your spouse? Where will you live, and can you afford to live where you want? How will you support yourself and your children? Should you seek a therapist to assist you with the emotional turmoil associated with a divorce? These are all questions you should be asking yourself prior to making a final decision on separation or divorce.
  5. Seek counsel- Prior to doing anything, it is important to consult with a qualified family lawyer. The attorney will be able to explain to you the procedural process that you must undergo prior to being divorced. More importantly, a qualified family lawyer will be able to discuss your expectations and your wishes, and let you know if they are truly realistic, and if not, help you to anticipate a realistic final outcome in your divorce.

Hopefully 2018 will not involve separation or divorce in your life. However should that eventuality come, these tips should assist you as you begin the process.

Richard Garriott is a Pender & Coward shareholder focusing his practice on family law.  Contact him with questions at (757) 490-6252 or rgarriott@pendercoward.com.

Filed Under: Blog Category 1