Few things are tougher in life than a divorce. Any time a relationship starts with promise and happiness and ends in brokenness, there is deep pain and regret for multiple parties. And while a divorce is never fun or emotionless, it is possible to have a smooth parting of ways that mitigates pain and prevents undue hardship.
1. Organize Financial Records
Finances can be one of the messiest aspects of divorce. In many cases, one spouse generally takes on the role of organizing finances, but that leaves the other spouse in the dark. Avoid this by taking charge of your own finances.
Begin by gathering financial information pertinent to your situation and making copies. This will include things such as:
- bank statements
- investment account statements
- credit card statements
- loan applications
- retirement account statements
- tax returns from the last three years
- property tax bills
- credit reports
- mortgage statements
Essentially, gather up any records that have bearing on your current financial situation to ensure that you get a fair split. This action will set up a good foundation for returning to your individual credit history.
2. Return to Your Individual Credit History
Since you’ve been married, it’s more than likely that you and your spouse’s credit have been linked. You may have built up a good credit before, but it’s now a joint venture that’s affected by your marital decisions.
Separate yourself from that by returning to your own credit history. Open a bank account in your name only, apply for a credit card, and if you get the car or the house, switch the payments to your name only. Taking these steps right away can help you get back on your feet quickly.
3. Close Joint Accounts
Be proactive and prevent any financial headaches before they happen. If you know that you’re headed for a divorce, consider closing your joint accounts. Keep your money secure until the financial split has been finalized legally.
4. Understand Divorce Options
Divorce can end several ways, and if you’re not careful and informed, you could end up with the short end of the stick. Go into the process understanding your rights and responsibilities. Hire a good divorce lawyer who can protect your rights and promote your interests. . Doing your research on different divorce outcomes and then getting the right lawyer on your side is key.
5. Set Goals for Mediation
Divorce mediation, which is a form of dispute resolution to help both parties reach an agreement that meets both your needs, is generally voluntary, but something you should strongly consider. Mediation can be useful for reaching agreements more quickly, and can help appease both parties.
Even if you and your spouse have a hard time seeing eye to eye right now, it’s important to sit down and have a civil conversation regarding mediation goals. Both spouses have to want to be there, and they should both come prepared with a list of priorities to settle.
You’ll also want to discuss the hiring of a good mediator that fits both of your needs. Find someone who’s completed a basic mediation course and received certification in a specialized area. They should also have adequate experience and a neutral tie to both parties in order to make things fair.
6. Put the Kids First
When children are involved, everything becomes infinitely more complicated. As a parent, you have a responsibility to put selfish desires behind and help your children cope in order to minimize the negative impact on them. No matter what their age, you should talk to them, and more importantly, listen regarding the topic of divorce.
They should also be a priority when deciding certain things like visitation rights, custody, property splits, and other elements of the proceedings. While you shouldn’t keep them out of the loop, they don’t need to know every detail, and they should have a say in how things play out. Their emotional health and wellness in the future depends on it.
7. Seek Emotional Support from Friends and Family
It’s essential that you take care of yourself, which might mean building an emotional support group with friends and family. Divorce is stressful to say the least; you’ll face major decisions that will affect the rest of your life. Friends, family, and even a therapist can be integral in working out issues and boosting your mood.
As a word of caution, seek a support group that truly supports you. This means avoiding those who are overly opinionated and may increase the drama you’re currently facing. Your support group should have your best interests in mind, and offer you constructive criticism and feedback to improve your overall experience.
8. Record Everything
Sometimes, the divorce proceedings can get ugly. You don’t want to assume your spouse and the corresponding attorney will play fair and abide by the agreement. In the event that your spouse acts out against the agreement or says something contrary to what really happened in a given situation, keep a record of these happenings. They may be useful later on, especially if a certain incident makes its way to court.
9. Find Common Ground
If you’re getting a divorce, odds are, you’re having a hard time agreeing on a few things. This can create a lot of hostility that could build into drama, and potentially worse, if you don’t learn to curb these feelings.
You may not agree on everything, but everyone can find something to agree on. For example, you might both prioritize your kids, or you want one thing and your spouse is okay with that. Finding places where you can agree will help to facilitate the process and make things easier all parties involved.
10. Hire a Good Divorce Lawyer
Last, but definitely not least, research and hire a good divorce lawyer. This is key in working through the issues surrounding divorce and key in ensuring your needs and interests are properly represented. There are many legal factors, laws, and guidelines that you probably don’t know or fully understand. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure that you don’t make costly mistakes during the proceedings.
You don’t have to look far for a great divorce lawyer to meet your needs. Foster LLP is the firm for you. No matter how complicated your divorce is, their team of experienced, trustworthy lawyers can simplify the process and help you reach the outcome you desire. For more information regarding your impending Calgary divorce, contact us today!