Your wedding was a wonderful day from what all of the pictures show. Yet somewhere between your marriage date and now, something went awry. Neither individual in the union is happy anymore and you have decided to end it. You are finally able to agree on something again—divorce is inevitable. Yet where do you go from here? There are several steps you can take to prepare yourself and plan ahead for the upcoming legal pursuit.
How to Prepare Yourself
As with most life altering decisions, preparation is the key for success. Months, or perhaps years, were taken to plan the marriage that you are now exiting. Therefore, it is logical to believe that a divorce does not occur overnight either. You must take care to prepare yourself for all aspects of this process, not simply emotionally but mentally and behaviorally as well. There are several often missed actions you will need to consider:
- Never leave the residence. If it is unsafe for you to stay, contact police and have them removed. If your ex-spouse changes the locks, have the police let you back into your residence. Do not leave unless the police tell you to;
- Secure your financial separation, make sure that you take your half of everything (no more, but of course no less), and secure it while stopping all cards that are joint credit accounts;
- Do not drink or partake in any other behavior that may alter your decision making skills. There is too much liability; and
- Spend a normal or above average amount of time with your children.
All of these behaviors, if not followed, will reflect negatively on you in a court of law and may result in costly consequences. While you are being sure to mind your manners and watch your own behavior, there are additional steps you can take to be better prepared when going into a divorce, including the following:
- Identify, collect, and organize any financial information an attorney may need;
- Create divorce budgets;
- Determine the amount of child support and potential spousal support you would realistically need; and
- Create a plan to obtain the assets you want.
What to Expect
Divorce can be as simple or as difficult as you and your ex-spouse make it. If you are relatively able to communicate and agree on terms, then length of the divorce and court costs may be reduced. However, if you and your spouse cannot even agree to a divorce, then the process may take much longer and may require more than just the assistance of an attorney. Expert witnesses may need to be brought in and investigations made.
The short version of the process is:
- A “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” is filed with the court;
- The other party is served with papers from either a Sheriff or a private process server;
- The person served can either decide to contest the divorce or go ahead uncontested (generally the most time and cost effective); and
- A divorce settlement is made, either between the divorcing spouses, or with the help of mediation and arbitration.
Divorce can be utterly overwhelming to everyone involved. Many are not sure where to start and become so anxious that they back out entirely and decide to stay in a marriage in which they are unhappy. A dissolution of marriage does not need to be intimidating. If you have an experienced attorney on your side, someone with years of reliable service to the community, the process can be rewarding and one of the best decisions of your life. If you need someone to help you feel secure in your decision and to assist you through the paperwork, the Naperville, IL family law attorneys at Sullivan, Taylor, & Gumina, P.C. are here to answer your questions. Call us today at 630-665-7676 to schedule an appointment.