Settling a Massachusetts divorce is no easy feat, and it can become an extremely long-winded process that goes on for years and years. Some things in life just aren't meant to be, but that doesn't mean that it's the end of everything. A Massachusetts divorce can be settled fairly and with grace, instead of being a never-ending battle that ends up harming the well-being of both you, your ex-partner, and your children.
To help you handle affairs in the best way possible, here are five steps you can take to improve your chances of a fair divorce settlement.
1. GET CLEAR ON YOUR FINANCES
One of the most important aspects of a divorce to consider is how it will affect your finances. Chances are, you're a little bit emotionally unstable right now and money and cash flow are the last thing on your mind. However, this is an important consideration if you want a fair divorce.
First, be wary of taking financial advice from friends, family or colleagues, unless of course, this is what they do successfully for a living. It's best to only accept financial advice from your lawyer or a professional.
Now you can start getting things in order. Make a list of all your bank accounts, retirement accounts, pension accounts - basically every financial account you have. This is something your lawyer is going to need anyway, and it helps to make sure that everything is fair and laid out on the table.
It is suggested that you be prepared to remove your partner's name from any accounts that are yours and yours from theirs. You don't want to be lumbered with a ton of debt.
2. EDUCATE YOURSELF ON YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS (ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS)
Now that everything is sorted out financially, it's time to start thinking about your legal rights, specifically what you're entitled to and what the entire legal process entails. Of course, the easiest way to do this is to create a list of questions you'd like to ask your lawyer.
As you're an individual going through a legal process, you may have some responsibilities that you need to be aware of, such as handing in paperwork by a certain date, filing a form, etc. You will also need to learn all about the conditions of the divorce, the requirements, and what you aim to achieve - in this case, a fair divorce. This is also vital when it comes to child custody and the agreement you want.
3. TAKE NOTE OF YOUR EMOTIONS
Of course, a divorce is an extremely emotional time, especially if it's something that you didn't want to happen in the first place. With this in mind, your emotions are probably going to be fluctuating greatly from anger and grief to surreally neutral and even guilt. With this comes a huge risk of acting irrationally.
Before the divorce process begins, check your emotions so you remain calm and collected. Know where you stand and how you feel, even if it's complete sadness and hurt. This will help you make the decisions you need to make with a clear frame of mind and in the right headspace.
4. DISTINGUISH YOUR BOTTOM LINE
Now that you're aware of your rights and the possible outcomes of the divorce, you can now set about defining your bottom line. Are you going for full custody of your children or will you be parenting on weekends? Do you want to keep the house you're living in or are you going to move away?
By defining your bottom line on all aspects of your divorce, both in terms of physical and financial property, you're setting your aims for both you and the other party to refer to and to work for.
5. LAY DOWN THE GROUND RULES
Once all the above is done, it's time for the divorce process to start. To ensure things are as fair as possible, it's highly recommended that you lay down the ground rules.
These could include being fair towards each other, not 'sandbagging' each other, being lenient, compassionate and cooperative, instead of causing a fuss and making things even more difficult.
Any kind of divorce is going to be a difficult time, and it's easy to get upset and start overthinking things. However, for the fairest and smoothest transition, it's vital that you keep your head on straight, make rational decisions, and look after yourself and the well-being of your family.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.