How to Have a Painless Divorce
By the time a couple files for divorce, each spouse’s priority should be starting a new life as an unmarried person; it should not be about who wins and who loses. People going through a divorce should focus on their own legal rights. They should not put their efforts into making their ex’s life as difficult as possible. Likewise, even though there are plenty of emotions involved in a divorce, you should not make hasty decisions just so you can disentangle yourself from the person who broke your heart as quickly as possible. Sean Smallwood, P.A., a divorce lawyer in Florida, recommends the following strategies for making your divorce less messy.
If Something Sounds Too Easy, It Probably Is
Many states offer uncontested divorce, but that does not mean that this option is right for everyone. In theory, it is possible to agree on how to divide your marital assets, and even how to share parenting responsibilities if you have minor children, but many couples who start the divorce process thinking that they will just have to pay a few hundred dollars for an uncontested divorce end up needing mediation or representation by lawyers, both of which cost a lot more. Don’t have unrealistic expectations of how fast or inexpensive it will be to divorce.
Think of It as a Financial Transaction
Money can be an emotionally fraught issue in any marriage, but you should seek professional legal advice about a divorce the way you would consult a lawyer if you were dissolving a business partnership. In other words, both spouses should meet with a lawyer together. If you meet with lawyers separately, especially if each person does it without the other person’s knowledge, it can quickly escalate into an ugly and expensive strategy game that no one can win. Venting to your friends about how much you look forward to your divorce being final so that your ex’s bad financial decisions can no longer get in the way of your plans is normal, but deciding on the terms of your divorce must be a joint process. The more transparency, the better.
Prenuptial Agreements Make Divorce Easier
Even though the stereotype is that prenuptial agreements are only for very rich or very greedy people, they are actually becoming increasingly common. Many young couples who sign prenuptial agreements think of it as a form of premarital financial counseling. Prenuptial agreements don’t make divorce more common; they just make it more amicable in the cases where it happens.
Don’t Attempt to Waive the Waiting Period
Waiting periods before a divorce exist for a reason – they stop couples from making hasty decisions. Some couples separate with the intent to divorce, but by the time the waiting period ends, they have resolved their differences and have reconciled. Likewise, it is easier to think calmly and clearly about financial decisions after a waiting period of several months to a year than it is immediately after your spouse dumps you or cheats on you.
Divorce is almost never easy. Family lawyers are there to make the process as painless as possible. If you’re thinking about divorce, meeting with a lawyer is in your best interests.