How to Manage Your Divorce
I have a client who recently finalized a 7-year divorce. The divorce process started and went to trial. Because of financial reasons, the husband was forced to stop the process. The judge put a Temporary Support Order in place and that continued for 5 years.
This individual hired me when he was ready to move forward his divorce. I spent quite a bit of time trying to understand why the first attempt failed so we could be better prepared this time. Mostly, what I learned is that he was completely overwhelmed, had no idea what he was supposed to be doing and hired inadequate counsel. Couple that with a wife with mental health issues and you can imagine this wasn’t going to be a simple divorce.
The hardest thing to do when faced with divorce is to get your arms around the actual divorce process. When you’re in a very high emotional state, you’re trying to hold onto your job or keep it together for your children (or both), figuring out how to manage the divorce process is the last thing you think about.
If you distill divorce down to its basics, it’s a business agreement that two parties are trying to dissolve. Add a custody negotiation and it becomes even more difficult. The key is to do your best to distance your emotions from the transactions and manage the divorce as a project.
The first thing you need to do is understand what you’re going to face, what are the major components, what you’re trying to achieve and what the obstacles might be.
1. Divorce has 2 major components: The Parenting Agreement and the Financial component comprised of, Distribution of Assets, Spousal and Child support.
2. While they are definitely interrelated, most couples with children start with the Parenting negotiations first. In the interest of getting your children settled into their new routine, this is the best place to start. There are 3 components to think about:
a. Where the children will live during the school year
b. How holidays and vacations will be divided
c. Who makes the important decisions for the children
3. For your financial negotiations:
a. Create a realistic budget of what you will need to live on
b. Make a list of all your family’s assets and debts
c. Put together a proposal, ideally in a spreadsheet or some format that is easily readable.
Divorce can obviously get much more complex than this, however, you need to start somewhere and this is a way to get organized. From here you can start to figure out what’s missing and what your next steps are.
My client finally settled his divorce after about a year and halfway through a trial. The one piece that made the negotiations somewhat better, was the spreadsheet we had put together outlining their options clearly. The judge even commented on how helpful that was. That one document helped his wife see her options more clearly too and eventually, understand what was at stake by not settling.
I can’t promise you’ll get the results you want, however, being informed and clear will definitely more you in a better direction.
If you need more information on how to manage your divorce download my Breaking the Divorce Code: The Ultimate Guide To Divorce. Need more help? Schedule a Clarity Session with me and we can create an action plan to manage your divorce process.
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