If you find yourself on this page, I know how you feel. I’ve seen it too often to not understand. Right now you want out, to simply get away or get what is rightfully yours. Or both. You might feel a swarm of other emotions as well ranging from hurt, lost, confused, angry, or joy. Yes, feeling joy because a light at the end of the tunnel after 10+ years lies in front of you. So, now what?
First of all, no matter how you feel, many people go through this and survive. Most people agree they don’t want to go through the process because of the stress and painfulness. A good attorney makes this process easier. Also, staying in an unhappy marriage after you’ve made every attempt to salvage it may cause a greater amount of harm and regret.
Therefore, let’s plan. This starts with going through and preparing. Prepare for this like you organize for a long trip. Take stock of what you need. A job. A safe place to live. A safe place for the kids. A budget. An idea of where the marital property and money is located. A plan for the future. A place to get mail. A support group. Evidence.
If you currently work, congrats. Step one completed. If you don’t work. Get your resume together and start looking. Never rely on the financial support of others. After a divorce, your income and available money changes. Sometimes for the better and more often for the worse. Where you had an income or two incomes supporting the family, you currently have one. There will be other factors, but people rely on the other factors too much. Look at your options, consider getting some help putting together a resume or looking at the skills which make you employable. Then figure out job options as well. Consider what you need and remember to stay flexible. Need to work from home? Need flexible hours? No matter what you decide, remember child support, spousal support or what property you get in the divorce will not last forever.
A Place to Live and Budget.
Consider your options for where you (and possibly your children) will live. Is it likely that you’ll stay where you live currently? Can you afford to do so for 6-8 months at a minimum? Can you pay for the mortgage/rent and utilities? Start looking at a second option such as an apartment. Make sure you don’t get something you cannot afford. Consider this and then budget. Make a budget for weekly and monthly expenses. Consider what your possible commitments upon starting the divorce process will be. Your lawyer should help you with this as well.
Show Me the Money and Property.
This is important. Really important. People sometimes meet with an attorney with no idea what property exists, which banks are used by their spouse, or the location of any of the documents for the property. Reality of any situation, you never know everything. However, your attorney needs information. Bank accounts. Property records (deeds). Location of safety deposit boxes. Information on owned businesses. Titles to cars, boats, etc. Your attorney gets that information from you or from your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Rarely will your spouse simply hand over the information, so you file documents to get the information. Thus, it’s easier, less stressful and leaves you better prepared to know as much as you can up front. Even if it is only a portion, if you learn and get an idea prior to meeting with an attorney. Get what you can get before it gets messy.
Although you never need every single detail laid out, get an idea of what you plan to do in the future and how you see the case going. What are your goals? Will they fight you on every little thing? Figure out what you think will happen and prepare to speak to your attorney about this.
Mail and Email.
So, If you think you’ll move or someone will stop you from getting your mail, consider getting a post office box. Never divert your spouse’s mail where it shouldn’t go. Yet, secure a place to get mail. If you haven’t filed make this confidential. Same goes for email. If you think they know your password – change it.
Whether you feel hurt, angry, scared or seek revenge. Get a support group together. A group of people who will help you on the emotional roller coaster that occurs during a divorce. Consider speaking with a therapist after you start the process or joining a group that may help you whether it’s at your church or another location. Groups like DivorceCare have helped my client’s before. If nothing else, at the very least get a book after you start the process that goes through and tries to help you come to terms with what is happening.
Above all, prepare what proof you have of what you say happened. Don’t go to an attorney claiming assaults with no proof. As a commercial I hear says, you are one of the two leading experts on your case. I always rely on my client’s knowledge of their life and events to get me what I need to fight for their goals. Your attorney will do the same. Make sure you have photographs, recordings, text messages and emails backing up your claims. These are not a must but make your case stronger.
Finally, make sure you get ready for the process. If you think you’ll handle this without an attorney, prepare to be your own attorney. Judges typically give very little sympathy to someone who represents themselves. You are expected to handle yourself like an attorney would in the courtroom. If you plan on hiring an attorney, make sure you prepare for this as well. No matter what, remember many people go through this process and make it out alive. You will as well.
If you find yourself in a difficult situation and need to discuss this with someone, you can always reach out to an attorney to give you some advice and direction. Please feel free to give Rasley Law Group a call at 972-584-7626 or visit our website at www.rasleylaw.com.