Although you may have made up your mind to start the process of getting a divorce, it is best to have a plan rather than just rushing into it. Divorce is often more difficult, more emotionally taxing and a much longer process than expected, especially when there is disagreement over important issues such as the custody of children. While the end result is usually well worth the struggle, preparing for the process can go a long way toward alleviating some of the stress.
In some cases, divorce can seem like World War 3, with the other party constantly trying to make things even more difficult hoping you will give up or crack under pressure. Friends and family members are good sources of emotional support, but they may not know what to say or may not understand what you’re going through.
Seek out other people also going through divorces, such as those who are in online support groups, so you have others to talk to when things get rough. Besides family and friends, also find emotional support from church attendance and both online and in-person social groups. Divorce is easier to go through when you don’t feel like you’re doing it alone. Don’t turn to your children for support. The less your children are exposed to the issues with the divorce, the better off they will be in the long run.
Make Arrangements for Children
For a non-working spouse caring for children in a financial situation without the means to support two households, it is a good idea to start making plans for employment and childcare prior to the divorce. Although the cost of childcare for multiple children may be almost as much as your potential income if you haven’t worked for many years, you don’t want to be in a situation where child support is determined without allocating the necessary amount for childcare if you may need it in the future. In some cases, alimony either isn’t awarded at all or may be too low to support your household without some other source of income.
Because making changes to custody agreements is done through the courts, it is best to come up with long-term plans initially that cover most scenarios rather than a plan based on your current situation. For example, you don’t want to base child support on a family member watching children for free, and later find yourself in a crisis because they are no longer able to do this. Contingencies about how childcare will be paid in the future if current circumstances change should be included in your child support and custody agreement. This is especially true when considering the cost of childcare during the summer months when children are out of school.
Be on Your Best Behavior
During a divorce, your life will likely be under intense scrutiny by your future ex-spouse, especially during a custody fight. In some extreme cases, spouses will follow you, spy on you and try to document your actions and activities. Avoid any unnecessary questioning of your character or your ability to care for your children; it might end up in court being used against you.
Gather Financial Information and Legal Documents
Income history for both parties is taken into consideration when it comes to child support and possible alimony if either of you has been out of the workforce for an extended time. The cost of child care as well as health and dental insurance are also important factors. The value of assets and also any mutual debts, including any federal and state income taxes owed, also needs to be included. Gather any important legal documents as well, such as your mortgage, tax records and any existing prenup.
Contact Bergman Family Law
If you have questions about what steps to take to prepare for divorce, your best approach is to speak to a qualified attorney in the greater Miami, Broward County area who is experienced in matters related to divorce, custody, child support, and prenups. An experienced attorney can guide you so that you can avoid costly mistakes and put yourself in a good situation. To find out what you need to do to prepare for your divorce, contact Bergman Family Law today to schedule your free consultation.