5 Questions To Ask Before Proceeding With A Divorce
1. Have I Tried to Repair the Relationship?
Divorce can be an incredibly difficult and traumatizing (and expensive) experience for all parties involved. Therefore, before deciding to terminate a marriage, it is crucial that you first try to repair the relationship; practice open communication, build mutual respect, devote time and effort, balance tasks and responsibilities, and/or if needed, seek professional help from a therapist or marriage counsellor. Essentially, you want to determine whether the marriage is salvageable or if the conflict can only be fixed through a divorce. If divorce is your only option, you will need to prepare yourself for the process and be as informed as possible.
2. Am I Prepared?
If you have decided to obtain a divorce, it is imperative that you prepare yourself for what lies ahead. You should begin by obtaining financial information and statements, and continue to be an active and involved part of your children’s lives. You may also want to consider maintaining the financial status quo (continuing to pay off credit and debts), freezing or closing any joint credit cards or loans, closing joint bank accounts and opening new ones in your name, changing the beneficiary designations on any life insurance policies or pensions, and drafting a new will.
3. Am I Safe in My Home?
Both spouses have an equal right to live in the matrimonial home, regardless of who owns it; and when obtaining a divorce, your decision to leave or stay in the matrimonial home can have serious implications. Your safety (and the safety of your children) is most important, but unless you’re in immediate danger, it is inadvisable for you to move out. If you have children, you are not legally permitted to leave the home with them unless you have consent of the other parent or a court order. If you have children and choose to leave without them, this could potentially prejudice your custody rights.
4. Is Court the Only Option?
Going to court to resolve your family law disputes is never your only option. Instead, opting for an alternate dispute resolution method, like mediation or the collaborative practice, may be most beneficial. These alternatives are voluntary, client-centered, less costly, and timelier than court; and are also more likely to result in a mutually agreeable and beneficial settlement.
5. Should I Retain a Divorce Lawyer?
Prior to resolving your matrimonial issues on your own, it is always advisable and in your best interests to obtain legal advice. Lawyers with experience in family law matters are best equipped to protect your best interests whilst helping you work through your matrimonial matters. Consulting with a family law lawyer will almost always lead to the most beneficial settlement.