The Decision to Divorce: Preparing for the Divorce
The divorce decision. Part two, preparing for the divorce. We previously addressed all that goes into the very difficult decision to end a marriage. This talk assumes you have made that decision, or it was thrust upon you unwillingly and the divorce is happening. What do you need? Number one, you need information. Making long-term decisions in a complicated legal and factual situation requires information.
What kind of information is needed? Well, first, you need to be informed on the basics of the law. How will custody and parenting time decisions be made? How is child support calculated? When is spousal maintenance an issue? What guides the court when dividing assets? Side note, marital misconduct is not considered when dividing assets. That probably make some of you feel relieved, but trust me, others of you might be frustrated by that.
Without a basic understanding of the rules of the game it is impossible to make good decisions, but knowledge of the law in and of itself is not enough. Secondly, you also need to know the general process of a divorce.
For instance, what paperwork is necessary? How long does the process take? Will mediation be required? What about living expenses incurred during the divorce, who pays what? And what if you get saddled with a bad judge? And God forbid, what does the inside of a court trial look like? Awareness of the process and costs will shape a majority of your decisions. So, there is a real need to be informed about the law and the process of a divorce.
So, naturally we have to talk about how do you gain this knowledge? I’ve got a couple of ideas. First, do your homework, go online, read an article, read a book. These resources are available, they’re plentiful and usually free or inexpensive, but I have one caution, many articles and books are written for the largest audience possible so they may not be specific to Minnesota or your state.
You need state specific information. The second option is to talk with an attorney experienced in family law. Most attorneys offer a free or discounted initial consultation, just ask for it. And how do you find a good attorney?
I suggest you get a referral from someone you know and trust. If your friend or family member knows or worked with an attorney and had a good experience, chances are so will you. But do some shopping, talk with a couple of attorneys. It’s a big decision. You could be spending a lot of money. You want someone who not only knows the law and the process like we discussed, but also someone that you will be able to work with. Not just them, but also their staff.
There are many, many decisions to make in a divorce, and some of the most critical decisions are needed to be made early on. Getting prepared to participate in the divorce process is very difficult for many people, especially those who do not want the divorce.
Think about it, for the majority of your marriage, and in some cases for decades, you have been investing time and energy into your spouse and family. You wanted success. Now you’re going in the exact opposite direction, working toward going it alone.
This is a huge turnaround. You need to prepare not only with information, but with good resources and you need to prepare yourself to be willing to take and make those decisions that are necessary. But with all things in life, understand that while it looks dark at the beginning, you will figure it out.
When you are searching for legal insight to guide life’s important decisions, the highly trained attorneys at Sjoberg & Tebelius are here to help. Call us at 651-738-3433 and follow us on our Facebook page at Sjoberg & Tebelius to get notified about our most recent podcast episodes. See you next time.