South Florida Hospital News
Monday November 12, 2018
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December 2017 - Volume 14 - Issue 6

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Making Divorce Manageable

As soon as you and your spouse have decided it is time to part ways and seek a divorce, and your mind begins to race about what steps to take and the smartest, easiest way to obtain a divorce without breaking the bank. Every family is different so what works best for your family may be different than what worked for your best friend’s family.

The first step you should take is to consult with an attorney. Finding out what your rights and responsibilities are during the divorce process will help manage your expectations and inform you of what your choices are. Before you meet with an attorney, you need to have an idea about your and your spouse’s income, all assets and liabilities in both of your names either jointly or individually, your savings, your investments, your liabilities, how property is titled and any other financial or parenting issue unique to your family. To find this information, look at your tax returns, your banking and other financial account statements, and titles to property. If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, bring that agreement to your consultation. The more relevant information you give to the attorney, the better advice you will receive at your consultation.
 
After consulting with an attorney, you must decide how you want to get the process started. If you and your spouse have already agreed to how you want to divide your assets and liabilities, and how you want to share time with your children, you may only need to hire one attorney to prepare your settlement agreement and file everything with the court. If you and your spouse cannot agree to anything, it may be best for each of you to hire an attorney so each of you benefits from the good advice of an attorney to help you make decisions that are in your family’s best interests. There is no right or wrong way, only the right way for your family.
 
There are many decisions during a divorce that you and your spouse must make. For example, will one of you pay the other alimony or spousal support? If so, how much and for how long? Will one of you owe child support to the other? If so, again, how much and for how long? When will the children spend time with you and your spouse? How will you share holidays and school breaks with the children? Who will pay for the children’s extra-curricular activities and uncovered medical expenses? How will you divide your assets and liabilities? Answers to these questions will be memorialized in a marital settlement agreement or a final judgment of dissolution of marriage. After an agreement is signed or a final judgment is entered by the Court, your process is complete and there is a document for you and your spouse to follow.
 
Your divorce does not have to be hotly contested or highly contentious. It will be stressful, sad, emotional, and financially taxing because everything about your family life will be changing. This is normal. The best thing you can do for yourself and your family during this time is to take care of yourself, surround yourself with friends and family who support you, and to take a deep breath before making any decision or responding to any allegation or question from your spouse.
 
Informing your children about the divorce can be tricky. If they are older, they will have questions. If younger, they may not understand what you are telling them. If you and your spouse are unsure about how to talk to the children about divorce, you might consider speaking to a therapist about it first, then sitting he children down with your spouse and give them only the necessary information they need to understand what is going on. Your children only need to know that things are changing and that you love them and will do everything to make this transition as smooth as possible for them. They will undoubtedly have questions that you are not obligated to answer. Children are resilient and will weather this storm so long as you keep their involvement in the divorce to a minimum.

If you are interested in consulting with an attorney about a divorce, call Angela R. Neave, Esquire at (954) 981-2200 for a free consultation.

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