Preparing for Divorce Part 3: Develop your Support Group
In Part 2 of our series, we discussed getting organized for your divorce. Before you start the process, you need to make sure you have your ducks in a row. This means organizing your financial documents and records, taking steps to receive your communications and correspondence securely and safely, keeping detailed records of important events that happen during the process, and carefully managing how you discuss your divorce with those outside your legal team.
This time, we will talk about assembling your team of key professionals who will provide essential guidance and support to help the divorce process go more smoothly, and to help bring (the process) to a successful conclusion. We will also touch on other resources you can access to obtain addition help and support.
Assembling your Divorce Team
Choosing the right professionals to help you with your divorce is one of the most consequential steps you will take. This starts with finding a divorce lawyer with the experience to effectively handle the complex issues that will arise, and one who is committed to fully protecting your interests throughout the process. Divorce is a stressful, frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive process. You need an attorney who will provide the skilled legal guidance and moral support necessary to help get you through this difficult time.
Here are some important tips for choosing the right divorce lawyer:
Find an Attorney who Focuses on Family Law
It is generally best to look for an attorney who spends the majority of their time handling divorces and other family legal matters. There are numerous complications that can arise during a divorce proceeding, and your lawyer should have in-depth experience dealing with these complications. A lawyer who is focused primarily on family law will not only understand the law, but how it is practically applied within the family courts. In addition, they can often suggest more creative options and develop more creative solutions that you may not have known about otherwise.
Find an Attorney with Experience both Inside and Outside the Courtroom
A large part of the divorce process is handled outside of court. Your attorney should not only be a skilled litigator, they should also be able to handle other tasks effectively, such as investigations, discovery, and negotiating with the other party and their attorney. Many of the important terms and conditions of a divorce can be worked out through negotiation. Your lawyer should have strong negotiation skills, and the proven ability to resolve important issues in a way that fully protects your interests while working to help preserve delicate family relationships.
Find an Attorney you Feel Comfortable Working With
At the end of the day, you need a divorce lawyer who you feel you can trust to stand up for you and fight hard for what’s best for you and your children (if you have any). Your lawyer should be responsive, compassionate, and willing to take the time to listen to you and fully understand your unique needs and concerns. Divorce is almost always an emotionally-taxing experience. Your lawyer should be someone who will be by your side to aggressively advocate for your rights and interests until the very end – and even after the divorce is finalized if post-divorce issues arise.
Choosing Other Professionals for Your Divorce Team
Divorce is rarely a simple and straightforward process. Of course, there are exceptions to this- such as when there are no children involved, you have limited finances, you and your spouse agree on all the issues, and you’re willing to part ways amicably. In such cases, you may be able to do a more simplified, uncontested divorce.
In a large number of cases, however, there will be complicated and often confusing issues that need to be resolved. These may include child support, alimony/spousal support, division of marital assets and debts, child custody and visitation, division of unique assets, uncovering hidden assets, divorce tax consequences, and many others.
These issues may require the assistance of other trusted professionals, which may include:
- Parenting evaluators
- Counselors and therapists
- Forensic accountants
- Financial advisers
- Tax professionals
- Real estate agents
- Business appraisers
- Private investigators
Your divorce lawyer should have the extensive experience and in-depth knowledge to thoroughly evaluate your unique circumstances and help you put together the right team to effectively handle the specific issues that will need to be resolved.
Building your Support Network
In addition to assembling your divorce team, it is also a good idea to tap into other divorce support resources. Keep in mind that you are not the only one who has been through this, and you should not have to face your divorce alone. Check around in your local community for support groups like “Divorce Care” where you can get tips, encouragement, and real-world advice from other divorcees. You may even have close family members and friends who you can talk to whom have been through a divorce. Just be sure these are people you can trust to respect your privacy.