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Divorce

Here’s Where to Start When Considering Divorce

Deciding to end a marriage is a profound and impactful decision, often accompanied by a whirlwind of emotions and a sense of entering uncharted territory. This guide aims to serve as a roadmap through the often complex and multifaceted process of divorce. It’s crafted to shed light on the various aspects you might encounter, from legal nuances to emotional and financial considerations. In navigating the path to divorce, being armed with current data and understanding emerging trends is invaluable.

These insights not only demystify the process but also help in formulating a more informed and clear-headed approach to what lies ahead. The journey through divorce is unique for everyone, and this guide endeavors to provide the essential information and support needed to move forward with confidence and a clearer understanding of the future.

top 5 reasons for divorce

Consulting With An Attorney

The intricacies of divorce laws vary significantly across states like Colorado, California, and Texas, each with its unique legal frameworks. This complexity necessitates a thorough understanding of your rights and obligations before proceeding with a divorce.

» State-Specific Laws: Each state has distinct laws governing aspects such as asset division, child custody, and alimony. For example, California and Texas are known as community property states, meaning all assets acquired during the marriage are generally considered joint property. Conversely, Colorado follows an equitable distribution approach, where assets are divided based on fairness rather than equality.

» Impact of Filing Timing: The timing of filing for divorce can have substantial implications. It can affect aspects like asset valuation, custody arrangements, and even alimony. An attorney can guide you on the optimal time to file based on your unique circumstances.

» Navigating the Legal System: Understanding legal procedures, from filing petitions to negotiating settlements, is crucial. A knowledgeable attorney can demystify these processes, provide strategic advice, and represent your interests in court, if necessary.

» Protecting Your Rights and Interests: An attorney ensures that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process. This includes advocating for fair asset division, appropriate child custody arrangements, and just alimony or child support payments.

» Handling Complexities: If your case involves complex issues like high net worth, business ownership, or cross-jurisdictional elements, legal expertise becomes even more crucial.

» Alternative Dispute Resolution: Besides traditional litigation, your attorney can advise on alternative methods like mediation or collaborative divorce, which can be less adversarial and more cost-effective.

» Emotional Support and Objectivity: While attorneys are not therapists, they can offer a level of emotional support through their understanding of the process. Their objectivity is invaluable in making rational decisions, especially when emotions run high.

» Marriage Counseling Consideration: If there’s a possibility of reconciling, or if you’re uncertain about divorce, consider speaking with a marriage counselor. They can help address underlying relationship issues and assist in making a thoughtful decision about the future of your marriage.

Consulting with an attorney is not just about legal representation; it’s about ensuring that you are informed, prepared, and supported throughout the divorce process. This support is invaluable in navigating what can be one of the most challenging times in a person’s life. Consulting with an attorney is not only a pivotal step in navigating the divorce process but arriving well-prepared for these consultations is equally essential. This preparation enhances the effectiveness of the legal advice you receive and ensures that your concerns are addressed comprehensively.

Create A Financial Inventory

California and Texas are community property states, meaning that in general, all money earned, and all property acquired during the marriage are seen as belonging to both spouses equally. Similarly, all debts incurred during the marriage are joint debts.

Separate property, on the other hand, consists of all assets and liabilities each house had before the marriage or after the date of separation. Separate property also includes assets received as a gift or inheritance from a third party. It is crucial to assess what is potentially community and what is potentially separate property so that you can plan for your future.

Colorado is a marital property state which has different guidelines than community property states. A Colorado divorce court will divide the marital property equitably (almost always means equally), based upon the value on the day of dissolution unless the parties agree otherwise.

Gathering important financial documents can make the process more efficient when you are ready to proceed and can help you understand what assets and debts are at issue. You must have an accurate picture of your assets, liabilities, and overall financial health, especially if your spouse was the one responsible for managing marital finances.

Look at past tax returns, bank statements, investment account statements, retirement account statements, employee benefits handbooks, life insurance policies, mortgage documents, credit card statements, family trusts, and stock grants, just to name a few.

If your spouse owns his/her own business, you want to be able to assess as much information as possible relating to the finances of his/her business.

Consider Your Potential and Resources

If you are the stay-at-home parent or the spouse with limited access to financial resources, make sure that you have a way to pay for your expenses for at least the next three months. It’s a good idea to apply for your credit card too if you do not already have one.

Many spouses become spiteful when a divorce starts and may cut off the other spouse’s access to community funds and credit cards. Although your attorney can help you obtain spousal and child support, it will take some time to do so. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the resources to cover your living expenses for emergencies and to pay for an attorney if you decide to retain one.

Tell Your Spouse

You don’t want to jump the gun on this one. You want to make sure that you are prepared before you tell your spouse. Once you are ready, you want to make sure that you do it in a private setting and not in front of the children.

Be honest and open but respectful as to why you want the divorce. Make sure your spouse knows that you have thought it through carefully and that your decision is final. You also want to give your spouse time to process what you have just told him/her.

Once your spouse has had a chance to process the fact that you want a divorce, you both will need to discuss and see if you can reach an agreement regarding child custody and temporary living arrangements. You will also need to figure out how to tell the children.

Tell the Children

Breaking the news of divorce to children is arguably one of the most challenging aspects of the process. It requires a thoughtful, sensitive approach that considers the emotional and developmental needs of the children. Here’s a consolidated approach:

1. United Front: Ideally, both parents should be present to explain the situation together, showing a united front.

2. Timing and Setting: Choose a calm, familiar setting and a time free of distractions to allow for open discussion and questions.

3. Age-Appropriate Discussions: Tailor the conversation to the children’s age and maturity level. Offer simple, clear explanations for younger children and more detailed information for older ones.

4. Reassurance: It’s essential to emphasize that the divorce is not due to the children’s actions and that both parents will continue to love and support them.

5. Honesty and Openness: Encourage children to express their feelings and ask questions, answering them honestly but considerately.

6. Routine and Stability: Maintain consistency in daily routines to provide a sense of security and stability.

7. Professional Support: Consider engaging a child therapist, especially one with experience in divorce situations, to help children process their emotions in a safe environment.

8. Continued Communication: Understand that this isn’t a one-off discussion. Be prepared for ongoing conversations as children adapt to the changes.

9. Emotional Regulation: Manage your emotions during the conversation to model healthy emotional responses for your children.

This sensitive and thoughtful approach can help ease the emotional burden of divorce on children, ensuring they feel supported and secure throughout the process.

Conclusion

Divorce is a complex journey that demands emotional and practical readiness. At Modern Family Law, we aim to guide you through this process with empathy and expertise. This guide serves as a stepping stone towards a future aligned with your well-being and happiness. Remember, you’re not alone in this transition, and seeking professional guidance can make a significant difference when considering divorce.

Modern Family Law

Modern Family Law’s team of experienced family law attorneys takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. Using innovative technology to create an effective and efficient process for our clientele, our attorneys approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for each family. Our attorneys currently practice in Colorado, California, and Texas. For more information please give us a call or fill out a short form online to sign up for a free consultation today! Let us make a positive difference in your life.

By: MFL Team

Posted January 02, 2024

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Divorce

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