You have made perhaps the most difficult decision in your life – to divorce. What do you do next? Here are some tips to help you prepare for your divorce.
1. Focus on the Future.
No one has to tell you how difficult and painful divorce is. Fear, anger, resentment and frustration are common emotions many experience in divorce. Many litigants in divorce expect the last great battle of whose wrong and whose right that will be decided by the judge. However, today’s courts are not really interested in picking winners. The courts are more concerned with the best interests of the children and resolving the entire matter with as little controversy as possible.
2. Commit to Peaceful Co-Parenting.
The laws of child custody in divorce have radically changed in Florida. Now the terms sole custody, joint custody and visitation are replaced with shared parenting and parenting plans. Both parents are expected to step up to the plate and parent their children. Therefore, it is better to commit at the onset to peaceful co-parenting. The probate court’s primary mission is the protection of children, rather than choosing the “best” parent. The courts expect that the parents will protect their children from the ill effects of divorce. This is another area where the services of a professional family therapist can help.
This is one time when you should be thinking about your future, rather than getting bogged down in the process of your divorce. It is often the case that neither party is happy with the outcome of a divorce. We recommend seeking the assistance of a therapist to help you through it.
3. Be Knowledgeable.
It often said that knowledge is power. Take the time to do your research. There is a huge amount of information and articles available online. Take the time to learn about the current law. Don’t rely on friends and relations for information. The law is evolving and changing all the time. Don’t try to be a lawyer, but be prepared for your meeting with a lawyer.
4. Be Realistic.
It is important to have realistic expectations in probate court. We have already said that the courts are not interested in picking winners. The courts are not interested in your dirty laundry. They hear it everyday. The courts are required to be equitable. They would prefer that you settle as much as possible out of court. By being realistic you have a much better chance of settling your case than simply rolling the dice. Understanding that, you will have a much better chance of engaging in a successful negotiation that limits or eliminates the need to litigate.
5. Manage Your Emotions.
This is not the time to let your emotions guide you. If you have made the decision to split you need to anticipate incredible emotional lows and highs. There will be confusion and uncertainty. You may be stressed about your children’s reaction to your decision. We all know that emotions cloud judgment. This can result in disaster if you want to negotiate a settlement. Try to write down your reasonable goals and expectations. Don’t let your emotions push you to ask for too much, or even worse, to surrender altogether as some have done. Prepare yourself before you meet with your attorney and anticipate your emotional responses ahead of time. Again, utilize the services of a therapist as soon as you are able.
6. Ask Questions.
It is easy to be intimidated by the divorce process. For most of us, the court system is a foreign country with a foreign language. However, it is your life and divorce, so you have every right to ask any question you have. It’s okay to interrupt your attorney if you don’t understand what he is saying. Do some basic online research before you meet with an attorney. If you have questions, write them down and make sure you have an opportunity to ask. If an attorney doesn’t respond appropriately, that’s a good sign she’s the wrong attorney. How many times have you heard from educators: there are no stupid questions? This is especially true in divorce.
7. Obtain and Organize Important Documents.
Once the decision is made to divorce, you may be overwhelmed by the prospect of what to do first. One of the most important tasks will be to obtain and organize important documents. This includes your marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates, financial documents, bank records, retirement information, and deeds to the property. You may not be able to readily obtain all the necessary documents, but do the best you can to save your lawyer time and money.
8. Hire the Right Legal Team.
Not every lawyer is a divorce lawyer. Not every divorce lawyer is right for you. You want an experienced and empathetic family law professionals that have sufficient resources to properly represent you in court and/or negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement. This is another area where you must do your homework. Research the web and talk to people. Don’t hesitate to reject anyone that you don’t like. Your lawyer is not your friend, but she must be professional, respectful and listen.
With over 30 years of combined experience, Jason Brodie Esq. and Joshua Friedman Esq. will guide you toward realistic goals and provide committed advocacy toward achieving them. They are known throughout South Florida for dedicated client service, tenacity, and success in complex divorce litigation involving property division, child custody, and spousal support.
To get a better understanding of the qualities our reputation is built on, contact our office in Boca Raton to schedule your initial phone consultation (561) 392-5100