Divorce in Haste; Repent at Leisure

deciding to divorceThe old saying goes, “marry in haste; repent at leisure,” meaning, of course, don’t rush into marriage with someone that you do not know very well, or with whom you have not spent a good deal of quality time. In other words, think before you act and take some time making a life changing decision! Deciding to separate from or divorce your spouse is just as significant a choice as getting married was in the first place. As such, jumping into filing for a divorce can become a hasty decision that you regret down the line. Here are some ways to avoid rushing into a divorce that may prove to have dire consequences for you later:

Talk to an attorney before you make any decisions: You may be angry or hurt. You may have discovered that your spouse has been unfaithful. Your first reaction is to run down to your local courthouse and file for divorce to get rid of your spouse as soon as possible. You may be thinking that you want nothing from your spouse and that you simply want to be away from him or her. Before you rush to the court, talk to an experienced attorneys about your rights and obligations. You may not want anything from your spouse at the moment, but hearing that you may be entitled to a portion of your spouse’s pension, for example, may change your mind. Allow an impartial, but knowledgeable attorney advise you on what you may be entitled to from the marriage and take some time to consider what you really want to give up. Rash decisions based on emotion will most certainly haunt you later.

Talk to a family therapist before you make any decisions: A good family law attorney will advise you regarding your legal rights and responsibilities in a divorce proceeding. But, if you need assistance working through any emotions that may be fueling your decision making, seek out a qualified marriage and family therapist for guidance on how to set aside and work through the emotions so that you can better rationalize and participate more productively in your divorce case.  Many divorce cases settle through some form of mediation and/or negotiation. It will help you tremendously if you approach negotiation and settlement in a calm and rational manner.

Don’t be a pushover: You and your spouse may be in agreement that your marriage has ended and that a divorce is imminent. Even though that decision has been made, it does not mean that you have to simply accept terms of settlement that your spouse has offered. Some spouses are presented with long marital settlement agreements drafted by their spouse’s attorney and simply handed a pen. As tempting as it is to sign and end the process, you may be giving up significant rights to items such as property, parenting time or spousal support. Sign nothing without having your own attorney review the proposal. Listen to your attorneys recommendations and proposed changes. While you are the ultimate decision maker in your divorce, you should, at the very least, be an informed decision maker. Don’t allow your ex to bully you into agreeing to terms that may hurt you in the future. Remember, you have to live with your divorce settlement now and into the future.

Become informed: if you have not participated in your marital finances up to this point, it is now time to become informed. Learn about your marital assets and debts. Find out how much you have in your bank accounts and review your income tax returns. It is impossible to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement without all of this information. Obtain a copy of your credit report and monitor your credit score. Be sure that your spouse is being truthful regarding all of their income and do your best to safeguard their spending any marital money on items outside of the marriage. If you see suspicious purchases or spending, let your divorce attorney know, immediately, so this can be addressed. If your spouse is spending marital money on an extracurricular affair, that money can be ordered to be paid back to you in the divorce.

If you are ready to file for divorce and would like to learn all of your rights and responsibilities, please contact us today to set up your initial consultation with one of our qualified attorneys experienced in all facets of divorce and family law in your area.

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Divorce Road Map