If you are contemplating a divorce, you are no doubt aware that the process is a difficult one. Emotionally, of course, the breakup of a marriage is one of the most stressful events that one can experience. It’s usually #2 on the list of the most stressful life events, just behind the loss of a loved one. In addition to stress, the experience is often coupled with other negative feelings, among them anger and depression.
Of course, it is important to deal effectively and intelligently with the emotional strain of a divorce. On the other hand, it is essential to remember that it is not like the breakup between teenage sweethearts. Financial considerations, children, and other factors often predominate, once the initial emotional strain has to some degree subsided.
Remember that a marriage is more than a romantic relationship. Your finances are intertwined. There may be children whose needs must be attended to in the context of the divorce. Living arrangements will change. In short, a divorce, in almost all cases, will involve a fairly drastic change in how you live your life. However, there are things you can do to make the transition less stressful and more productive, with an eye toward the future. In doing so, you’ll likely find that taking these steps will reduce, at least to some degree, the fear, anxiety, and pain which everyone experiences when they go through the divorce process.
Basic Steps to Take When a Divorce is on the Horizon
So you’ve decided, either on your own or in agreement with your spouse, that the marriage is over. Some split-ups are more amicable than others. But even when the parties seem to agree on some of the basics, it is essential that you protect yourself. Divorce is not something with which the average person is familiar. There are a host of issues that may, and often do arise, that you’ve probably never even thought about before. Here are some of the important issues to consider, and how to deal with them:
- Find an experienced Houston divorce attorney! The exclamation point is there for a reason. This is not an area where you should try to go it alone. You’ll make mistakes, miss issues, and cause yourself problems that could affect you for the rest of your life. Having an experienced divorce lawyer at your side will give you the guidance you need.
- Financial information. Pull together whatever financial information you can put your hands on. This includes bank statements, deeds, and anything else that documents your and your spouse’s assets. Also gather anything that indicates your and your spouse’s income, debts (individual and joint), and credit cards. Speak to your attorney about how to handle joint bank accounts and credit cards.
- Custody and visitation issues. If you have children, consider how best to deal with custody and visitation. Your attorney will go over the options in your case. You should also discuss why, even though living together is uncomfortable, it might be a bad idea for you to move out of the marital home at this time.
- Your expenses after the divorce. Think about your financial situation after the split. You and your ex-spouse will be running two households on the income that was previously used for one household. Make sure you understand how much money you’ll need after the divorce.
- Be cautious about what you say and how and where you say it. You’ll likely have numerous conversations with your spouse (and with others) as the divorce progresses. Be careful what information you provide, and how you provide it. Conversations could be recorded by your spouse (or by others) without your knowledge or consent under Texas law. These conversations, along with social media posts, can be used against you if you are not careful about what you say and write.
- Find emotional support. Some people have a broad network of friends they can talk to about difficult issues like divorce. Many do not. If you need support, there are groups in your community that can help you through this difficult emotional period.
We haven’t attempted in this article to detail all the action needed when you are faced with a divorce. But our overall message is to be proactive. Don’t allow the process to beat you. Take the necessary steps to deal effectively with the situation. With the guidance of your divorce attorney, you can minimize both the emotional and financial impact of a divorce.
Law Office of Mary Quinn
106 Avondale St.
Houston, TX 77006