The sadness and turmoil of ending a relationship can easily distract a person from the objective focus needed during a divorce. Common mistakes include treating a divorce like a competition or rushing to resolve issues in hopes of getting the process over with.
A thoughtful, strategic approach to your divorce can save you time, money and stress, whether you have a mutually respectful relationship with your spouse or your marriage has turned combative. The decisions made during a divorce can have long-term impacts on your personal finances, your relationships with your children and your overall way of life. Before you file for divorce, you should take the time to:
- Get a handle on your finances — Review your assets, bank accounts and financial obligations. Going into a divorce armed with knowledge about your personal and joint worth can help you press for your fair share of the marital estate.
- Focus on your children — Judges make custody and visitation decisions designed to protect the best interests of children. Maintaining a loving, stable environment for your children not only benefits them but improves your stance in custody determinations.
- Document any wrongdoing — Though Michigan is a “no fault” state with regard to grounds for divorce, a judge can consider a spouse’s infidelity, violence, financial recklessness or other misconduct when making decisions about alimony, property division and custody. Any such history should be documented and kept at hand for possible use in the case.
- Decide what you want and need — When arguments are emotional, people can become more fixated on winning minor battles than on pursuing a broad strategy. Think about what’s worth fighting for and where you’re willing to compromise so that you can stay focused on the big picture without getting sidetracked.
- Speak to your spouse if possible — When both spouses agree that the marriage is over, carrying on amicable discussions can establish ground rules to help the divorce process move through efficiently.
- Find an emotional support system — Divorce can be lonely, stressful and frustrating. Having someone in your corner is a great help. If your friends or family members don’t live nearby, consider local support groups for divorcing spouses.
- Learn about alternatives to litigation — Mediation and collaborative law are two approaches to divorce that may help you and your spouse to resolve disagreements and achieve settlements without the intervention of a judge.
At Dawson Family Law PLLC in Sterling Heights, Michigan, I bring more than 40 years of experience to the task of finding divorce solutions that work best for my clients. I handle complicated asset divisions and spousal support arrangements. To schedule a free initial consultation, call my office at 833-671-4445 or contact me online.