Whether the divorce was your decision, that of your spouse, or was mutual, if you find yourself facing the prospect of divorce you are likely also experiencing a wealth of heightened, and potentially conflicting, emotions. On top of the emotional impact a divorce has, you are also facing the legal process of divorce. If you have never been through that process before, the thought of that alone can be intimidating as well. The best thing you can do for yourself at this point is to retain the services of an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. In the meantime, you may also find the following top five tips from a divorce attorney to be helpful.
- Define your priorities. From a legal perspective, the purpose of a divorce is to sever the legal bond of matrimony. Practically speaking, that includes dividing the marital debts and assets, addressing issues relating to minor children of the marriage, and determining child and/or spousal support if appropriate. No one walks away from a divorce with absolutely everything they wanted going into the divorce. With that in mind, it helps to decide in the beginning where your priorities lie. For example, is it more important to you to end up with the house or are you willing to let that go to keep your pension? Is custody of your children all that matters to you or do you also truly need spousal support? Take some time to decide what is really important to you and what you can live without.
- Remember that a divorce impacts the entire family, including your children. It is easy to get swept up in your own feelings and emotions when going through a divorce. Keep in mind, however, that your children are also going through a divorce. People often think that children, particularly younger ones, are oblivious to the affects of parental discord. Typically, however, children do feel the impact of a divorce. If they are young, they may not understand the specifics, but they know something is going on and they often pick up on their parent’s emotions.
- Try not to be ruled by your emotions. This is easier said than done; however, at some point, your emotions will dissipate and what you will have left will be the results of the decisions and agreements made during the divorce. Refusing to be reasonable because you are angry at a spouse typically results is huge legal bills and the loss of considerable assets. On the other hand, refusing to protect your own best interests because you feel guilty for wrongdoing during the marriage or because you are too hurt to care can result is a very lopsided divorce settlement. Try to view the divorce through a practical lens instead of an emotional one.
- Seek legal advice before making major decisions or taking action. Hiring a divorce attorney as soon as divorce becomes imminent is best. At the very least, however, consult with one before you do things that could impact your rights during the divorce. For example, do not take the children and move out of state, sell the marital residence, or wipe out your joint investment account before you consult with an attorney because any of those things could adversely affect you during the actual divorce proceedings.
- Document everything. Hopefully, your divorce will be relatively amicable. Just in case though, start documenting everything as soon as divorce comes up as a possibility. If you separate, make sure there is documentation for any type of financial support you give your spouse. If you have the children, document every time your spouse changes or cancels visitations plans. Also, start gathering documentation regarding all marital assets and debts as well as income for both you and your spouse as you will likely need all of that during the divorce.
Contact a Tennessee Divorce Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about divorce in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Tennessee divorce attorney as soon as possible. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.