Divorce can be terrifying and disorienting. In order to shed some light on the subject, Kaine Fisher partner and director of Rose Law Group’s Family Law Department discusses steps to take when divorce is a reality, in this two-part series.
A vast majority of divorce my clients have never even seen the inside of a courtroom and have had absolutely no involvement with the legal process. They’ve never worked with a lawyer and have never had to testify. But even more overwhelming is that most clients must face the reality that they are moving from supporting one household to paying for two.
The first step is to find a lawyer.
You will almost immediately want to start interviewing prospective lawyers to handle your case – but be patient with the one you choose. It is important to have a sense your lawyer is competent and qualified, and perhaps even more importantly, you need to have a good rapport with your lawyer. You will be communicating with your lawyer frequently so this is gravely important. You should be able to tell early on whether your lawyer is communicative just by the way they set up your initial consultation and how they conduct themselves during your initial meeting. Avoid hiring a lawyer without meeting with them simply because a friend, colleague or family member has used that lawyer in the past. You wouldn’t hire a heart surgeon on a whim so why would you choose your divorce lawyer that way?
Taking the next step, “The Talk.”
Try to put your own emotions aside during this tough time and spend some time thinking about how you will break the news to your children. Keeping it a secret or waiting until the last second may backfire. Consider telling the children with your spouse (assuming there is no domestic violence and assuming you can both act like adults around the children). Obviously, the divorce is not their fault so let them know that. Keep it simple, admit the experience will be sad and upsetting for everyone and reassure the kids you and your spouse loves them dearly. Remember the divorce doesn’t change your status as “mom” and “dad.” It’s not a bad idea to get the children into counseling right away to assist in delicately informing them of the breakup and to help the children cope with the transition.
Step three, it’s okay to reach out, ask for help—get counseling.
One of the first things I tell clients is “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Easier said than done right? Most clients have a difficult time differentiating between what is important and what is not. Learn to pick your battles. It will save you time and emotional turmoil. It is not a sign of weakness to seek help. Going through a divorce is one of the most turbulent times in a person’s life. There is no need for you to go at it alone.
In part two, I’ll give insight into the importance of information, privacy protection and beneficiaries.
If you have questions, contact me directly at email@example.com or 480-240-5649