Divorce can be a messy business. The absolute worst-case scenario can be traumatic and leave financial and emotional scars for years to come. Obviously, you’re going to want to avoid that at all costs. Here are some of the first steps you can take to ensure an equitable settlement.
Hire a Lawyer Who Will Advocate for You
Unfortunately, as much as you might like to try and work things out without lawyers, it is a much safer option to just bite the bullet and hire them. The ideal lawyer is one with plenty of experience in family law. Divorces are a tricky business, and the knowledge of the ins and outs of the process will be invaluable. Hiring a lawyer who will really put the effort and care into your case is also important – someone who will really fight for you, who really believes in your parental rights. As expensive as they can be, going through this process without a lawyer (especially if your spouse has one) would be disastrous.
Split Your Assets
If you’re on cordial terms with your spouse, it might be a good idea to just split your major assets fifty-fifty. This is the simplest way to ensure fairness in the settlement. That might include a splitting of the house – or other large, valuable assets like boats or cars. The division of a property’s worth may sound complicated, but it’s really not. People going through a divorce often need to sell their home quickly. Split the profit from the sale exactly down the middle. Both of you should look towards renting (or, if necessary, buying) your own places as soon as possible. This is especially true if children are involved. Kids deserve as much stability as you and your spouse can afford during the divorce process.
Avoid Court, But Go If Necessary
Court is the nastiest part of the divorce process and will only happen if your lawyers (and yourselves) cannot come to an agreement. It is the place where lots of nasty and personal details can and will be used against you in an effort to win. Civility can be extremely hard to maintain in the dog-eat-dog world of family court. Again, if kids are involved, it will be that much worse. But you should be prepared for that possibility if you feel like an equitable settlement will not be likely under other circumstances.
While the prospect of divorce can be terrifying, you shouldn’t feel discouraged. In the long run this is the right decision. If you act as carefully as you can, and refuse to let setbacks make you give up, you will be glad you did it.
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