There are many issues you need to think about if you are considering filing for a Sarasota divorce. When you are in the middle of an emotional situation, it can be very difficult to see things clearly, or to believe that your future will one day look quite different than it does today. Just as with any other life-altering decision, it is important that you take your time, learn where you are financially, and seek the advice of an experienced divorce attorney. The attorneys at The Law Place understand what you are going through.
Whenever possible we will try to settle your divorce issues without litigation, however we never hesitate to step into a courtroom on your behalf. Obviously, it will be easier and less expensive if you and your spouse can settle your issues amicably, however in many cases this simply is not possible. If you are looking for an attorney who is well aware of the value of settling your divorce in the easiest manner but is also willing to fight aggressively for you when necessary, look no further than The Law Place. Before you take the plunge and file a Petition for Dissolution, consider the following:
• It is extremely important that you find out as much as possible about your marital finances. If you are not the spouse who routinely takes care of the finances, obtain copies of important records such as tax returns, credit card statements, savings and checking account statements, retirement and investment accounts, mortgage information, and any other information which could become crucial in your divorce.
• Consider what your financial needs for the future may be by preparing a budget and determining how secure your present job is. Speak to your attorney about whether spousal support is likely and if you will be the parent with primary parental responsibility, have your attorney calculate the approximate child support you may receive.
• Regarding the children, consider the arrangement that makes the most sense. Write down how much time you spend with your children and how much your spouse spends. Include such things as helping with homework, attending doctor’s appointments and after-school activities as well as all other activities and even time spent putting the children to bed, reading them a story or preparing meals for the children. Look at your situation realistically, and truly attempt to do what is in the best interests of the children rather than trying to “get back at,” or get even with your spouse through the children.
• Sit down with a knowledgeable family law attorney and discuss all issues in your impending divorce. Make sure you find an attorney you feel comfortable with and can trust. Be upfront about legal expenses; tell your attorney what you can and cannot afford. He or she may be able to petition for legal expenses, meaning your spouse will pay your attorney’s fees.
• Consider the marital home—do you want to keep the home, or will your spouse keep the house? Perhaps the home should be sold and the proceeds divided. Some spouses want to find a new home and start fresh, rather than remaining in a home which could have some sad memories. Others feel it is important that the children be allowed to remain in their home for the sake of stability.
• Make a “divorce notebook,” which contains virtually everything related to your potential divorce. Ensure you have a safe place to keep the notebook where your spouse cannot find it. If there are issues in your marriage regarding domestic violence or parental alienation, make careful note of these issues. E-mails, text messages, phone messages and even Facebook posts should be kept in your notebook as well as all financial information.
• Think about where you want to be this time next year—or five or ten years down the road. A divorce is a major transition and, as such, will have a large impact on you and your children.
• Ensure you have a solid support system in place before you file for divorce. Whether a close friend, a family member or a counselor, you need someone in your life you can trust implicitly as you go through your divorce.
• If it appears your divorce may be contentious, it can be a good idea to pay off and close all joint credit accounts whenever possible. You don’t want your spouse to become angry when confronted with the possibility of a divorce, then go out and run up charges you may later be held responsible for. Obtain a credit card in your name only before the divorce to keep and use for emergencies.
• Determine whether you will stay in the marital home or move out during the divorce. There are many good reasons to stay in your home; leaving could affect your interest in the property and if you have school-age children, you don’t want them to have their lives disrupted until it is absolutely necessary.
• If possible, begin putting away as much cash as possible for your attorney fees and living expenses once the divorce is filed.
If at all possible, plan for your divorce and custody case at least six months before filing the Petition for Dissolution. Obviously certain situations will require immediate action, but if you have the luxury of time, take it, and use it well. The attorneys at The Law Place strive to address your legal needs during this stressful time in the most compassionate yet professional manner. While we will help you avoid the drama of a divorce trial when possible, we have no hesitation in advocating aggressively on your behalf before a judge. Call The Law Place today for the help you need in your upcoming divorce.