Parents have a lot of unique concerns when a marriage ends. If you have children and are considering a divorce, the idea of all the changes your little ones will face may feel overwhelming. While it's true that the entire family dynamic will shift and change, you can make things as pleasant as possible for you and your children. Follow these steps if you're considering a divorce.
1. Consult a Divorce Attorney
No internet search can give you the information you really need to know if you're considering a divorce. Because family laws are especially complex and may change frequently, you need to speak to a lawyer about your unique situation. The attorney can advise you on the best next steps based on your wants, needs, and unique family circumstances.
Before you walk into the attorney's office, think about what you need to know and what your priorities are. Also, know what you ideally want to do next. If you know you're ready for a divorce, communicate that clearly to the attorney. Make a list of questions that you can refer to in the consultation. That way, you know you won't forget anything you need to know right away.
2. Take Care of Yourself and Get Help as Needed
Child custody can be a tricky matter and is a complex area of law. The court will try to discern what's in the best interests of your children. That includes the consideration of the psychological well-being of you and your ex. Thus, you must take care of your emotional and mental health throughout this challenging time.
It's a good idea to see a therapist before, during, and after a divorce. Throughout this time, divorcing couples commonly feel deep sadness, hurt, anger, shame, and disbelief. Counseling can help you face these difficult, complex emotions, so you can truly deal with them and put them in your past.
When you're proactive about taking care of yourself, you empower yourself to be there for your children, which can help you in the fight for custody. Therapy can also help you in your day-to-day interactions with your children and even your ex-spouse.
3. Organize Your Finances
Know how well off you and your ex are financially. Make copies of all bank statements, credit account balance statements, and other financial records. Save copies online, and stash physical copies in a safe place. Before you even mention the divorce to your spouse, you need to make sure you are up to speed on your finances.
You also need to know how you will be able to provide for your family during the initial separation while you wait for the divorce to be finalized. You need to have easy access to money to support yourself. Talk to your attorney about how to best protect your financial health as you move forward with filing and pursuing a divorce. Your lawyer can help you more easily when you have the financial records on hand.
4. Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best
Unfortunately, a lot of couples end up in constant feuds after breaking up. That contention can have a negative impact on children. However, you can only control what you do. You cannot control how your ex chooses to behave. Given that reality, it's important to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. If possible, be prepared to do things on your own.
Finally, parents face a different set of considerations than child-free couples at the end of a marriage. Remember that you don't have to face it alone. If you are thinking seriously about getting a divorce, it may be better to do it sooner rather than later. Contact the Gerardin Law Firm for information on how our caring team can help protect the best interests of you and your children.