As Florida family attorneys, it is not uncommon for us to encounter clients who are unsure about whether they are ready to get a divorce.
Some are not sure if they are emotionally ready, while others fear financial repercussions and changes to their home life.
The decision to get a divorce is one of the toughest you’ll ever make, and it’s natural to have doubts, concerns, and second thoughts from time to time. Your attorney should never try to convince you to get a divorce if you do not feel you are ready.
Only you and your partner can determine whether or not divorce is right for you. Before making the enormous decision to leave your spouse, we encourage both of you to consider the following questions:
Is there anything we can do to save our marriage? Divorce should always be a last resort for a marriage that cannot be saved. Before deciding to get a divorce, we recommend trying couples’ counseling and other types of therapy. A professional can help you determine whether your marriage is irreparable or if there are steps you can take to salvage it, whether that means addressing personal problems, resolving conflicts, or finding better ways to communicate.
What is my intent in seeking divorce? If you are interested in anything other than ending your marriage, divorce may not be the right option. You should never get a divorce to encourage your spouse to change, as punishment for wrongdoing, or to make him or her realize what they’ve lost. Remember: divorce can’t magically change people’s hearts and minds—it can only lawfully end your marriage.
Am I prepared for divorce? Divorce is rarely easy, and it’s important to be prepared for the task ahead and big changes—emotionally, mentally, and financially. You may have to take steps to protect your emotional well-being, as well as your property, bank accounts, and other assets. For help coping with the emotional stress of divorce, it’s a good idea to consult with a therapist. On the financial side of things, it’s good to consult with a lawyer about getting your finances in order. This could include freezing any joint credit cards and home equity loans, as well as closing joint bank accounts and opening new ones in your name.
How will we handle custody of our children? If you have children, how will you handle co-parenting and child support? Are you both in agreement about how you would divide child care and decision-making responsibilities, or can you expect a custody battle? If you believe a long and difficult child custody dispute may be inevitable, you should hire an attorney with experience in child custody as soon as possible.
Who will receive ownership of pets? This is one that many people don’t consider at first, but for some families, determining who will get ownership of beloved pets can be also be matter of heated disagreement. If pet ownership was not specified in a prenuptial agreement, it may be up to you and the courts to decide where the pet will live. When deciding who should get custody of a pet, you should consider factors such the lifestyle and current responsibilities of each spouse.
Will I be able to act in a mature way following divorce? You and your spouse’s attitude towards your divorce may determine the quality of life you have after the proceedings. You may be able to divorce your spouse with integrity and without anger or bitterness. Alternatively, your divorce could lead to spiteful legal battles that last for many years. When planning divorce, it’s advisable to keep an open and honest dialogue with your spouse to try and come to agreement on decisions regarding finances, property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. Ideally, you should try to make agreements that will protect your rights, benefit the entire family, and do not require court hearings to enforce.
If you believe that divorce may be the best option for you and your family, contact a knowledgeable Florida divorce attorney. Your attorney can answer your questions about the divorce process, as well as on important issues such as property division, time-sharing, and alimony. If you do decide that divorce is the right step, your lawyer can help you conduct the process as smoothly and amicably as possible, minimizing error, conflict, and cost. With an attorney’s guidance, you can protect what’s important to you and your loved ones throughout the divorce proceedings.
At Florida Family Law Clinic, we’ve helped countless clients pursue low-cost divorce. If you believe that divorce is the right decision for you, give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation.