The Legal And Emotional Aspects Of Divorce: Are You Covering Both?
Receiving divorce papers can be devastating, whether or not you already knew the relationship was over. While there are legal aspects to obviously tend to, there are also emotional ones that people tend to neglect. Consider both when facing divorce, to ensure the best possible outcome for yourself.
Examining The Documents
The legal response: While often difficult, it's important that you carefully read the papers you are served with while in a calm state of mind. Have a notebook on hand to jot down questions, points of argument and other information for future reference; you're not likely to retain all the details at this time, but they will be needed when you speak with your lawyer.
Take note of the deadline for your response, where meetings will take place, requests regarding property and division of assets, the grounds for divorce and most importantly, custody of any children involved.
The emotional response: Once you've thoroughly reviewed the papers, call or visit a friend or relative. Choose someone with whom you have a relationship outside of the marriage and you can trust completely. Plan to let go of the initial shock and hurt through conversation and camaraderie. You need this supportive encounter moving forward.
Collecting The Necessary Paperwork
The legal response: In order to proceed with a divorce, you're going to have to dig deep into the family finances, as well as producing other relevant documents. Every piece of paper that identifies you as individuals and partners should be gathered, including a prenup if applicable, all items owned now either jointly or separately, debt owed, tax returns, liens and statements of potential earnings and worth. Get these papers together, make copies and prepare to present them to your lawyer.
The emotional response: Write down a list of your accomplishments and everything you're proud of. Dust off your diplomas, certificates of achievements, trophies from college, badges from Scouts -- anything to elevate your opinion of yourself at this time. Show off what you've done and vow to keep going, even all by your lonesome, if necessary.
Meeting With An Attorney
The legal response: Even if the divorce is amicable, you need solid advice to navigate the proceedings. It's best to consider a family lawyer who specializes in divorce and can, therefore, manage the situation expertly. If the separation is less than friendly, look at the record of any firm you consider: Do they win more often than not? Are they fierce enough to fight for you? If it's going to get nasty, they'll need to do the dirty work for you.
The emotional response: Arrange for a meeting between you and any family members who will be affected by the impending divorce. Without revealing any confidential information, explain your side of things and try to usher in a new beginning in the family dynamics; relationships that will continue after the divorce need to be reinforced and nurtured as neutrally and carefully as possible, for everyone's sake. You should leave this meeting feeling stronger, fully supported and prepared for the future.
Answering Those Divorce Papers
The legal response: You'll likely have 30 days to respond to the petition for divorce. Meet with your lawyer to hammer out replies to each numbered issue presented in the filing as early on as possible. Your replies may be countered in return, beginning the long and arduous process of a difficult divorce. Conversely, you and your spouse may reach immediate agreement. Either way, the court must be included in your ongoing settlement and it's best to get this part of the ordeal out of the way.
The emotional response: Make a personal resolution to improve yourself or life independently from your spouse and family. You could join a gym, sign up for a yoga class or do anything that in some way makes you stronger and happier about who you are and who you're going to be. Striving toward making this resolution a reality will also help take your mind off things, especially if the divorce is stressful.
Guarding Your Assets
The legal response: Depending on the requests in your spouse's petition, the question of freezing assets may arise. You also need to separate funds from joint accounts, reroute direct deposits and determine your credit standing as individuals and a couple, in order to facilitate the proceedings in terms of debt allocation. It is in your best interest to investigate any loans and/or purchases your spouse is involved with, as you may be held liable.
The emotional response: Formulate a new budget for yourself, taking into consideration the changes in your income and expenditures. Divorce makes you feel like the rug has been pulled out from underneath you, thus, having a strong footing financially empowers you.
Protecting Your Personal Line Of Communications
The legal response: Because you need to protect yourself during divorce proceedings, consider buying a post office box and using it for all your legal needs. Any paperwork sent to you as a couple can be opened by either party. Ensure that you contact all agencies, banks, employers, utilities etc., instructing them to address you individually and to the appropriate PO box.
Moving forward, change all your passwords for financial institutions and payment accounts, as well as email.
The emotional response: Promise yourself you won't engage in slander, as it makes the situation worse, lowers you to a place you'd rather not be and erodes your self-respect. It may be wise to speak with a therapist, where you can gripe away without negative consequences. Venting is healthy, but only if it's not going to be destructive to you, your case or any children involved.
While you could have a team of legal eagles hard at work on your divorce, no one can see or address the emotional turmoil you go through, except you. Without taking care of your emotional self, too, there's no way to reach a positive outcome.
And to take care of the legal side of things, contact professional family law firms, such as Grenadier, Starace, Duffett & Keisler, PC.