August 12, 2015

5 Considerations for Divorce

165041703-broken-heart-gettyimagesBecause divorce is generally considered to be the second most stressful life experience, only behind the death of someone close, it is important to find professionals you can trust to help you through difficult times. Here are five considerations to be aware of as you proceed.

1. Find a Good Counselor

You do NOT want to surround yourself with a Greek chorus of friends and family who are emotionally attached and filled with good advice. You must hear what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look to close friends for support – just don’t rely upon them for advice about what to do.

Therapists are highly trained to understand stress, and to give you solid advice about moving through the whole process. Depending upon your particular concerns, you may only need occasional help.

We can not really know who we are until we have faced a genuine crisis. Many go through life thinking we are strong, when in reality we have only been safe. Not only do most people survive difficult times, it is also quite common to gain insights that help us get to better places.

2. Cultivate the Ability to be Detached From Outcomes

This Buddhist koan holds deep wisdom. Especially when we feel threatened, we have a tendency to hold on to things for security. One such thing may be the homestead, which we may feel a strong need to retain for security. It may be this will be a final decision, just don’t become set on it until you have all the information to make a good choice. More than a few people have been buried by the old homestead when they are unable to cover the expenses of the mortgage and all the upkeep and maintenance.

3. Pay Special Attention to Your Finances

If your spouse has always handled all of the financial matters you will feel uneasy about this, simply because you don’t know. There is nothing about finances that you will not be able to understand once all of the information has been assembled and you have the opportunity to learn about it.

Few people operate from a regular budget, but this is one time when it is very important to become aware the complexity of cash flow you. You will want to understand how your finances looked during the time you were living together. Were there enough funds to cover all of your monthly spending? Have you acquired debt? If so, what is the debt for, and how did it occur? Were these decisions made by both parties, or has one party’s spending created added complications?

It is wise to begin to pay attention to the costs and expenses that are incurred on behalf of your children. Some children are raised in jeans and t-shirts, while other wear designer clothes and Gucci Boots. Begin writing down what your actual expenses are for your children.

Finances are one of the biggest contributors to divorce. If there are problems it is important that a plan be made to resolve them in the best way possible.

4. Pay Attention to Tax Consequences

If you have had tax issues during the marriage it will be more complicated to figure out how things are to be resolved. Regardless of who may be the greater cause, divorce can be an opportunity to escape problems that may have plagued a marriage. It may be advisable to have an independent tax assessment. If mistakes have been made in the process of filing past taxes, amended tax filings may be an easy way to set things straight. There will be significant tax changes once the divorce is final. Make sure your professionals fully advise you of the things you most need to know. Federal tax laws supercede state divorce laws. Have a tax professional explain those things to you.

5. Develop a Financial Plan For Post-Divorce.

It will always cost more to operate two households than it does to operate one. Each party to a divorce should have the same opportunity to have as much financial security as circumstances allow. Financial planning can help you transition from a married to a single lifestyle by prioritizing financial goals, developing realistic expectations and producing sound plans for the assignment and division of financial resources.

The Collaborative Law model is designed to provide all of the above services. Talk to any Collaborative professional to learn more about this can be done.

Bruce PeckABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bruce Peck
Attorney

Bruce is one of the founding members of the Collaborative Law Institute.
Back in the Wonder Years, this small group was trying to figure out what a new way of practicing family law might look like. Today the collaborative law concept has exploded, not just throughout the United States, but also internationally. For over thirty years Bruce has continued to hone his skills to provide the highest quality of services to family law clients. He helps good people make tough choices during difficult times.

Bruce is a laid back and easy going person who listens well to others. He is a shameless optimist who can always see possibility and opportunity. Being very curious by nature, he is a voracious reader. His love for words has drawn him into being an avid poet.

Bruce’s skills supports clients interests without alienating their spouse. When the parties reach agreement, it is not under duress. They have the time to discuss all decisions with their attorneys before signing the agreement. Once completed, the stipulated divorce is filed with the court for a default hearing in which neither party, nor their attorneys, ever have to set foot inside a courthouse. Learn more at www.BrucePeckLawOffice.com

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