Legal Guide

4 Legal Tips to a Successful Divorce

If you are getting a divorce, you probably have a lot on your mind. Not only are you preparing for major changes in your life, but you are also worried about the legal process of getting divorced. Maybe your personal experience indicates that divorce is always a difficult and tense process. You may also have no idea what to expect at all. While a lot depends on the details of your divorce and your relationship with your spouse, there are several tips that can help your divorce go smoothly.

1. Hire A Divorce Lawyer

Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, you should hire a skilled divorce lawyer. For contested divorces, your lawyer can help you negotiate the terms of your divorce agreement with your spouse. If your spouse has a lawyer and you do not, you will be at a disadvantage during negotiations. Your spouse and their attorney may feel that they can persuade you to agree to less favorable terms if you do not know your rights. Your attorney can advocate for a more equitable divorce agreement. A family lawyer will also know what the law is and can use their knowledge to leverage better terms for you.

If your divorce may result in litigation, it is especially important to have a lawyer. An attorney will know your state’s divorce laws and can argue your position to a judge.

If your relationship with your spouse is strained or hostile, hiring a lawyer can also help you maintain poise and professionalism when communicating with your spouse. Your attorney does not have the same strong emotions about your spouse as you do, so they will be able to keep their cool. In addition, an experienced divorce lawyer will be familiar with tense situations and will know how to de-escalate conflict so you can get back to working toward a solution.

Even if you and your spouse are on good terms and are seeking an uncontested divorce, it is still a good idea to talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can draft and review the terms of your divorce agreement to make sure that they are clear. Having a divorce agreement that is easy to understand can save you time, stress, and money by avoiding future challenges or litigation over the agreement. Click here to read more about the benefits of hiring a divorce lawyer.

2. Know Your Financial Situation

If you are not already familiar with the details of your daily living budget, you should become familiar. Start keeping track of recurring expenses such as mortgage payments or rent, grocery bills, transportation costs, and other expenses. Track less common expenses as well, such as clothes for growing children, household repairs, and your personal entertainment expenses. You will need to have a concrete idea of the amount of money you need to cover your expenses and the expenses of your children. You should then compare these expenses to your own income both with and without the contribution of your spouse’s income. This will help you get an idea of what you need from your divorce agreement. You want the terms of the agreement to allow you to cover your expenses and maintain your standard of living.

3. Think About Your Priorities

The reality of getting divorced is that you may have to make some sacrifices as part of your divorce agreement. For example, most states divide property acquired during the marriage in a way that is equitable. This means that one spouse or the other is very unlikely to get everything in a divorce. Think about which assets and possessions you most want to keep. You should also think about which assets do not mean as much to you. These may be things that you can give up in exchange for better terms on other divorce issues. 

While child custody is always determined based on the best interests of the children, you and your spouse still have some say in the exact terms of custody and visitation. Are there certain custody arrangements that you strongly prefer? Maybe you want your children to live with you or you want visitation a certain number of times per week. You need to know what your top priorities are for your divorce agreement before you start negotiating it with your spouse. If you hired a lawyer, they likely have negotiating experience and will know how to balance your priorities to achieve the outcome that is most satisfactory to you.

4. Explore All Your Options

While most people think about the legal divorce process in terms of court appearances, there are other ways to approach your divorce. Many law firms offer alternative dispute resolution options for clients who would rather avoid the hassle and expense of court appearances, discovery, and other aspects of the traditional divorce process. These options include methods like mediation, in which a neutral party helps you and your spouse reach an agreement about your divorce terms. If you and your spouse have tensions toward one another, the neutral party can help you put your emotions aside temporarily to decide on terms that satisfy both of you. 

Divorcing couples who may have more trouble reaching an agreement can use arbitration if they do not want to settle in court. In arbitration, both sides work with their attorneys to present their case to an arbitrator who will make a final decision. Arbitration is structured similarly to a court hearing, except the arbitrator is not a judge.

One of the main advantages of mediation and other alternative dispute resolution techniques is that they can often achieve a resolution sooner than the court process. Court proceedings are formal, and judges must follow specific procedures for nearly every aspect of the divorce case. In addition, courts often experience a backlog of scheduled hearings and other proceedings. This can mean that your case will not get in front of a judge for months. With a mediation, you do not need to work with the court’s schedule. The informal process allows you, your spouse, and a mediator to meet at a convenient time and try to reach a final agreement.

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