Arriving at the decision to end a marriage is never easy. As divorce attorneys, we often see people in our Atlanta practice who know they want to end their marriage but may not have thought out some of the most important things to consider before they file. As a service, we offer our top 5 things to consider when you are contemplating a divorce:
1. What are your goals regarding child custody and parenting of your children?
In addition to a consistent parenting plan with similar expectations of behavior for the child (as well as consequences for misbehavior), parents should think about what they want for their children and devise a plan to get there. A “road map” will keep both parents focused on the big picture. Joint custody is increasingly popular and in our Atlanta area (as is the cast with many other metropolitan areas) so the parents need to stay on the same page in order to provide consistency and stability for their children. For more help deciding child custody issues, check out this child custody article.
2. What are your financial goals regarding division of assets, debt and possibly alimony?
We often see people who have allowed their partners to be solely responsible for all aspects of financial management and really have no idea of assets or debts. When this happens, the person who isn’t involved with finances is in a less powerful position when it is time to negotiate settlements. If you are considering a divorce, acquaint yourself with your financial status and think about what it will take for you to live on your own.
3. What steps might you need to take to protect yourself physically from an abusive spouse?
Sometimes, a spouse is physically abusive and uses threats or physical harm to control the other person. Divorce adds a new layer of emotional strain and can cause frustration and volatility. If this happens, do you have a safe place where you (and your children) can go to stay safe? Do you have some emergency cash? Have you checked out emergency shelters and know how to get to them? Are you ready to file for emergency protections with a court? Have a plan in place and be ready to follow through in the event of danger. Need help? Check out the resource list at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
4. What support system do you have to assist you during this journey?
Despite our best efforts to have an amicable divorce, it can be very emotionally draining. Having healthy relationships with family and friends is a great way to ensure that you have a functioning support system. There are also divorce support groups, both online and in person, to help you transition through this season of your life.
5. What career goals to you have?
When someone has been financially dependent on their spouse, they need to consider what type of career they will have in order to support themselves after a divorce. Often times, this career will require some type of training, certification or degree. Carefully consider your goals and the steps you need to take in order to achieve these goals.
Our Atlanta family law practice understands that divorce is never easy. With these 5 things in mind, carefully consider your options and then call us. Our attorneys are here to help you come up with your own plan. We will work hard to advise you to ensure that you can move to the next chapter of your life with a minimum amount of stress and strife.