When faced with divorce here are a few basics to help you navigate the process:
You didn’t plan on getting a divorce when you were getting married. But, things didn’t work out and now you are facing divorce. Divorce and be hurtful, stressful, expensive and a lengthy process. However, by keeping perspective and following some of these dos and don’ts you can protect your interest, help save yourself time and money, and set yourself up for taking charge of your future.
Hiring an Attorney vs. Mediator:
If you and your spouse can come to an agreement on most issues or if you have not been married very long and have no children, you may want to consider an uncontested divorce or a divorce mediator. An uncontested divorce is when the spouses agree on everything and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations about spousal or child support or custody. In general, an uncontested divorce will proceed through the system more quickly, be much less complicated, and less of a financial burden.
A divorce mediator, can help you and your spouse to discuss and resolve key issues which you were unable to resolve alone. If you need help finding a mediator your local domestic relation court could help or ask for a referral from a psychologist or social worker.
This process could significantly reduce stress, time and expenses generally thought of when considering divorce.
If you decide to hire an attorney to protect your interests, you would be entering into a contested divorce. Which is a divorce where the parties cannot agree, either about getting divorced or about the terms of the divorce, such as the division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or the custody of children. Know that contested divorces can be expensive.
Divorce attorneys typically charge hourly rates and many require a retainer fee. You may want to interview a couple before making a decision. Items to discuss would include but are not limited to: fees, experience, reputation, and any potential conflicts of interest.
Consider Key Issues:
If you and your spouse did not create a prenuptial agreement you will need to discuss some key issues, such as child custody and alimony. These key issues can be hot button topics and can be an emotional conversation. Having these conversations prior to meeting with attorneys can help to reduce time and expenses as well.
What are each of your wishes regarding custody, visitation and child support?
Do you have adequate income to support yourself? If not, should alimony be considered?
Are there specific assets you or your spouse want? Should the primary residence be liquidated?
Dos and Don’ts:
· Don’t sign anything without first having it reviewed by your attorney
· Don’t move out of the house until you speak with an attorney
· Do surround yourself with support advisors as needed, such as attorney, financial advisor, tax advisor, support groups, therapist
· Do review your expenses and assets
· Do make copies of your tax returns and financial statements for your attorney
If you find yourself facing a divorce. Allow time to work through your own feelings and get help when and where you need it. Remember to keep prospective and try to be as proactive as possible to reduce time and expenses through the process while still protecting your interests. By following the suggestions above you may be able to help alleviate some of the stress, time and expense that can be involved when divorcing.
This information does not constitute as legal or tax advise. Castle Wealth Advisors LLC recommends you contact your legal and tax advisors for additional information and advice prior to making any investment decisions.