There are a lot of things to consider before you file for divorce. What are the most important? That may depend on your specific situation, but in general, most people share the same top common concerns…
#1 It costs money!
This may not be everyone’s top concern, but whether or not you retain an attorney, a divorce will cost you money. Aside from legal fees, there are filing fees, marshal fees, and, in Connecticut, there is a parenting education class if you have children. On top of that, you may need to do some home improvements if you plan to sell your house, or you may need to find a new home to rent, or buy. It may also “cost” you part of your retirement or savings as you may have to transfer some to your soon-to-be ex-spouse. They say divorce is expensive for a reason-it’s worth it! It’s important to look at the big picture and understand that you are investing in yourself if you spend money on a divorce that you truly want.
#2 You’re probably not going to “win”
Everyone wants to win, right? In most cases, yes, but in a divorce, that is not the correct attitude to have. Connecticut is both a no-fault and an equitable distribution state. That means that, absent going to a trial and/or alleging specific grounds, such as abuse, for a divorce, it usually does not matter how the breakdown of the marriage occurred. You only need to state that your marriage broke down irretrievably with no hope of reconciliation. Furthermore, an equitable distribution state means that each spouse will essentially walk away with a “fair” portion of the marital estate. It does not mean that it’s going to be exactly a 50/50 spit, but it does mean that no one is going to walk away being a clear-cut “winner,” either.
#3 You will catch more flies with honey….
That does not mean that you have to roll over and give your spouse everything he or she wants. What it does mean, though, is that if you go into a divorce with the attitude of being entitled to something, or thinking that you are going to bully the other party, you probably will not have a great experience. The divorce process can be frustrating and emotional. One of the reasons people seek attorneys is to separate out some of the emotion from the process. Clients, and attorneys, who take an approach to bulldoze the other party are rarely successful and the courts will likely not look favorably upon an attorney or a party trying to throw the other side under the bus.
#4 It is your divorce, not your kids’ divorce and not your family’s divorce
A divorce can be a difficult time for the entire family. If you have children, most, if not all, of the decisions you make will affect them. In addition to that, step-children ,grandparents and often, other family members may feel “slighted” by your decision to divorce because it will affect them in some way. However, it is important to remember that the divorce is between you and your spouse. In most cases, the courts will not recognize agreements to require other parties to do (or not do) certain things. Furthermore, in most cases, no one other than the two parents have a right to see the minor children. Therefore, you can likely not request that your parent, or sibling, or friend, have visitation or access to your child. That is something that you will have to facilitate during your own parenting time.
Additionally, a divorce is difficult or your children. While it may be a different kind of difficulty than you are facing, it is important to keep your children’s best interest in mind. The Connecticut General Statutes are all largely based on the concept of acting in the best interest of the minor child(ren), so if you can keep that in mind during your divorce process, you will likely make it easier for them, and you.
#5 You should identify your priorities
It is important to take some time to decide what your priorities are in the divorce. Is it important for you to have enough flexibility for with your parenting schedule to still balance your job? Is it more important for you to walk away with a lump sum payout so that you can buy a new house instead of periodic alimony? Are there unique concepts involved in your divorce that you need to address (such as owning a property with people other than your spouse, a child with special needs, a unique pay structure at work, etc.)? If you can set 3-5 priorities at the outset of your divorce, it may help you to keep focused on what you are truly working toward rather than focusing on the small details.
Argue with a woman? Wolf & Shore Law Group can make your divorce easier, not harder. We also offer out-of-court advisement and divorce coaching services if you have not yet made the decision to start the divorce process. If you are considering a divorce and want to seek legal representation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.