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Divorce Strategy Consult

Divorce Strategy Consult: What You Should Consider Before You File For Divorce

Marriage in itself is filled with ever evolving emotions. In the words of famed author, Nicholas Sparks, “you’re going to spend the rest of your life learning about each other, and every now and then, things blow up". However, sometimes things blow up so far out of proportion that you might feel that nothing you do can resolve your issues. So, for when this happens, it really does pay to do your research before making the big move towards divorce. It is for this reason that we offer Divorce Strategy Consults at Lyttle Law Firm. Often times, those who are contemplating a divorce do not know where to start.

Getting a divorce is no easy feat. Filing for divorce will be emotional and one of the most major life altering decisions you will ever make. Making rational decisions while at the same time balancing so much emotional stress will be difficult. Divorce can take an emotional, physical, and financial toll on you. You will need to go in with a clear head to be able to make decisions that will effect you long after the judge signs your final decree. So, before you file for divorce think about these 10 things and consider booking a Divorce Strategy Consult with our firm. You will be glad you did.

1. Have you really thought this through?

Did things really get blown up so far out of proportion that you really can’t fix it? Maybe in the heat of the moment you felt that getting out is the only way to go but maybe there are other options. Take a step back and evaluate your situation and what will become of your family if you decide to move forward with your divorce. Make sure you have exhausted all of your options whether it’s counseling or spending some time alone. Once you file, while you could still change your mind, you will be taking a financial hit in court costs and filing fees. Why take this hit if it’s not necessary?

2. Do you really know what you’re getting yourself into?

Laws regarding divorce matters change on state-by-state basis. You will need to do a little research on your own. Who has jurisdiction over your divorce? Do you have to be separated for a specific amount of time before you file for divorce? If you recently moved, how long do you have to live there before you file your divorce? Research a few attorneys in your area. Consult with the attorney’s that you feel comfortable with. Go to a consultation to find out what the cost of the initial retainer will be. You’ll have to find out, how long of a process will this be? Ask about your options when filing. Figuring these things out can help you road map your divorce so that you don’t become too overwhelmed once you do file. You will know a few things to expect.

3. What are your goals and how will your divorce impact those goals?

Are there goals that you have had that you’d like to come to fruition? How will these be impacted? Will you need to set new goals for yourself? Even if you have long term goals that you feel you don’t need to consider at the moment, you will need to consider your short-term goals specifically about your divorce. Your divorce will have a huge personal impact but more so on your finances. Think “working smart not hard.” Going to court is expensive so you will want to consider alternatives such as mediation. You don’t want to spend all of your money on your divorce and not have anything to restart your life with. Having unreasonable expectations will cost you dearly.

4. Do you plan to keep your house?

We get that your house has been your home, but keeping it is not always an option. You’ll need to take into account your new budget. How much money will you have after the divorce? Will you be able to handle all of the expenses that come along with owning a house? While you may not be inclined to leaving behind the house you and your family have shared so many memories in you still have to be realistic in what you can and can’t keep. Ultimately, if you can’t afford to keep your house, do your due diligence figure out what your living situation will look like. Will it be temporary or permanent?

5. What about your children?

Have you thought about how this change will affect them? What does your ideal custody agreement look like? Have you considered an agreement that is designed to help your kids with the transition? Think about how much time your spouse spends with your kids versus how much time you spend with them. Your kids should be your priority during this time. Avoid using them as a way to hurt your spouse. In the end the most affected parties will be your kids.

6. Organization is key!

You will need to make an inventory of everything you own and everything you owe. Make sure you know what household bills are paid. If you don’t already, make sure you know where all bank account and billing statements, property deeds, and any insurance information is. Make copies you can store in a safe place. Stay informed on what you own personally and jointly with your spouse. Work on creating an inventory list of any valuables you may have and take pictures. Knowing all of this information and having it handy will make splitting your assets a lot easier. This will also help in determining your expectations on what you will be able to claim. As an added tip you may even consider renting a post office box where you can redirect any important private mail such as any documents coming from your attorney. Consider also getting a new private email account for communication with your attorney.

7. What happens to your joint accounts and joint debts?

Be cautious in what you do with joint accounts. Learn the rules about what you can and can’t do before filing. Talk to your attorney on what the best course of action is. You don’t want to end up in a situation where your spouse takes advantage and ends up running up your bills or drains your accounts and leaves you with no money and a huge debt. You also do not want to do anything that could be perceived as financially irresponsible as you may find yourself having to explain yourself in front of a Judge. Stay informed. Be strategic.

8. Have you checked your credit score lately?

Do you have credit history? A lot of the times couples come to an agreement that while one works and pays the bills, the other stays at home to care for the kids. Often times, this also translates into the stay-at-home parent never establishing any credit history. Regardless of where you stand, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit score to be able to know where you stand. If you lose your house and car in the divorce, will you be able to go out on your own and get a new house and/or car? If you have no credit history, now would be a good time to try to work towards establishing your credit history.

9. Hire the team that works for you.

Surround yourself with the right people to handle your divorce. Your attorney and his or her team are there to provide you with the legal advice that is in your best interest. They cannot serve as your therapist, accountant, and best friend. Your attorney is not the person you want to go to for marriage advice. You will discover that treating them as such can turn out to be very expensive for you. You want to go to your marriage counselor for marriage advice and your attorney strictly for what you hire them to do and that is carry out the legal aspects of your divorce. Your attorney will be able to guide you through all aspects of your case, from how to handle social media during a divorce, effective communication with your spouse and children, and attorneys are also great resources to point you in the direction of other professionals: accountants, therapists, parenting facilitators, realtors, and appraisers, to name a few. If the estate warrants it, you may also want to go consult with a Divorce Financial Expert to help with the division of your assets and make sure you understand the financial aspect of your divorce.

10. Try to relax.

Relaxing during such a stressful time in your life can seem impossible. However, because of the amount of stress you will be going through it is good to try to learn new techniques to ease your stress. It is important to take care of yourself to maintain your physical and mental health. Surround yourself with people that care about you and your kids. Take some time for yourself to do things you enjoy. Sit down with a good book, make appointments to pamper yourself, come up with an exercise routine or just have quality fun time with your kids.

If you are contemplating divorce, setting up a Divorce Strategy Consult is a very effective use of your time to quickly get an idea of what to expect during your divorce. Contact us at Lyttle Law Firm, to set up your consult today. Even if you choose not to file for divorce for months or even years, the information you receive will prove to be very helpful should you need it.