Making Smart Decisions When Choosing to Divorce in 2023
I. Where to Start When You Want to Divorce This Year
The decision to divorce is a difficult one, and the process of separating from your spouse can be emotionally, mentally, and financially taxing. If you have decided to pursue a divorce in 2023, it’s important to take time to fully understand the implications that come with such a life-altering decision before making any final choices.
In this blog post, we will discuss the considerations you should make when deciding to divorce in the new year, including the emotional and financial impact of such an event. We will also provide tips on how to make smart decisions throughout the process and guidance on finding a qualified divorce attorney who can assist you.
By taking the time to assess all aspects of your impending separation before making any moves, you will have a better chance of making the right decisions and ensuring you are well-prepared to navigate the road ahead. With this in mind, let’s explore the considerations of deciding to divorce in the new year.
A. What is Divorce?
This seems like a question that will have an obvious answer, but divorce sometimes means different things to different people. Divorce, as we will address it in this article, is the process of legally and officially ending a marriage, provided both parties have agreed to a settlement of all issues, and the Family Court has granted its approval of the agreement and officially granted the divorce decree. When the parties don’t agree on the terms of their divorce, a trial is scheduled where a judge will make the final ruling on how to finalize things like financial and property division and any issues related to children you may share with your spouse.
The process of divorce usually involves filing paperwork with the court, and it can take several months, and sometimes in truly complex cases, years before the divorce is finalized. When deciding to divorce, it’s important to consult with a qualified divorce attorney in your area to understand all aspects of your state’s legal process, as well as any emotional and financial implications that may come with it. Doing so can help ensure that the process goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible for you and your children.
No matter what circumstances have led you to this decision, since divorce can be a long and complex process, it requires you to give careful consideration to all aspects that could be involved. Let’s examine some of the factors you should think about when deciding to divorce in the new year.
B. Emotional and Financial Implications
Divorce is never an easy decision, and it often carries significant emotional and financial implications for those involved. The process of separating your life from a spouse, even after a short marriage, can be emotionally taxing so it’s important to take the time to think carefully about the long-term impacts a divorce could have on you and your family. If there is any chance your marriage can be saved, you will want to give ample consideration to whether you should devote more time to saving your marriage before making the decision to file for divorce.
Financially, divorce can wreak havoc on your financial stability and potentially your ability to continue to afford a home of your own. Since divorce be a lengthy and costly process, understanding the true expenses related to divorce (i.e., those beyond the retainer required to hire an attorney) is essential before deciding to file for divorce. You will want to research the laws in your state, as well as talk to a lawyer, to learn what you need to know about how your assets will be divided between you and your spouse. Depending on the assets you and your spouse may have acquired during the marriage, it’s likely prudent to also consult with a financial advisor, who can provide advice specific to you about how best to plan for your post-divorce financial situation.
It’s important to understand that your financial situation after divorce could be drastically different from what you’re used to. Therefore, having the ability to anticipate these changes and adjust to them now can make the transition to your post-divorce life much easier. For example, you may need to learn budgeting techniques you’ve not previously employed or find ways to reduce your expenses while going through the divorce to be able to maintain your good credit rating or afford the post-divorce lifestyle you desire.
II. Factors to Consider When Deciding to Divorce
Once you’ve decided that divorce is the right decision for you, there are several important factors to consider before taking the next step. Let’s review a few of the most important ones you should think about before making decisions about how to proceed:
A. The Legal Process
First and foremost, it is essential to understand the legal implications of separating from your spouse. Depending on where you live, what type of marriage you have (e.g., civil or religious, common law, or civil union), if you have children, and the value of your total marital estate, the divorce process may look different for different couples. It is highly recommended you consult with a divorce attorney for detailed guidance on the legal procedures involved with divorce in your state, as well as other relevant matters, such as how your state decides child custody arrangements and handles the division of assets, especially on a temporary basis (the time frame between filing for divorce and when a divorce is finally granted by a judge).
Some states offer very structured procedures for how divorces are handled, with strict timelines that must be adhered to for things like financial disclosures, parenting classes, and mediation to be attempted, but other states have a basic outline of the steps and paperwork required and leave the details of how those steps are carried out and completed up to the parties and their attorneys. Knowing how your state will handle your case is the best way to start knowing how to budget for your divorce costs and legal fees.
B. Child Custody
If you share children with your spouse, it is especially important to understand how child custody arrangements are decided by the court. This can be a complicated issue since both parents often want to retain custody and decision-making authority of their children. Therefore, most cases that involve children in any way typically require the assistance of an experienced lawyer to help sort out the details in a court-approved manner.
In almost every jurisdiction, it will be crucial for you to put the best interests of your children first in any discussion about custody. Whenever children are involved, the Court will typically believe that good communication between parents is key for ensuring a child custody arrangement is workable and will ensure the children’s needs will be met going forward. If you and your spouse are unable to properly communicate with each other or there are any reasons why one of you should be restricted from regular contact with the children, it will add many layers of complexity (and expense) to your overall case.
C. Support Arrangements
Another important factor to consider is the potential financial stability of both you and your spouse post-divorce. If one spouse has been out of the workforce for an extended period or was financially dependent on their partner before separating, he or she may be entitled to spousal support. Whether that support is ordered, how much support is ordered, and for how long it must be paid are all questions that can only be answered after reviewing many other factors. It is important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney to understand your rights and responsibilities in this regard.
D. Emotional Support
Finally, it is important to consider the emotional implications of getting divorced. The decision to divorce is often an emotionally taxing event for everyone involved, especially if there are children involved. It is important to remember that there are resources available for both spouses, including counseling and therapy services. Taking time to care for your own mental health can help you navigate this difficult transition in the healthiest way possible.
If you need recommendations on who to use in this regard, asking your divorce attorney is a great place to start. Divorce lawyers often have a referral list of well-qualified therapists in their town or city who are experienced with working with people going through a divorce or other family court litigation.
III. How to Find a Well-Qualified Divorce Attorney
Once you’ve taken the time to consider all the various factors involved in your decision to divorce, the next step is to find a well-qualified attorney who will be able to represent your interests during the legal process. Finding an experienced and reputable lawyer can make all the difference when navigating this situation, not only because you need an attorney to help sort out the proper paperwork to legally separate yourself from your spouse but also because they will provide valuable non-legal advice gained from their years of experience representing many other clients traveling the same road you’re about to travel.
It is recommended to do your research beforehand to make sure you are choosing a lawyer who is knowledgeable in both family law and any local court procedures that may apply in your area. Ask for referrals from friends or family members who have gone through a divorce in your state, as well as references from attorneys you might know personally, even if they don’t practice family law. You can also check sites like AAML.org to find highly skilled attorneys in your state using their national directory of Fellows of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Once you have a list of referrals, be sure to research the attorneys online, thoroughly review their credentials and their experience with divorce cases like yours, and then schedule consultations with the ones you might want to hire. If available in your area, try to hire an attorney who practices exclusively in family law and one who routinely handles divorces like yours. A lawyer who only handles family law is going to have a better understanding of the kind of help and advice you need beyond just legal advice on how the process of divorce works in your state. Taking the time to find an attorney who is a good fit for your case, for your personality, and for your budget will ensure that your legal rights are well-protected throughout the process.
Deciding to divorce is a major life decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. It is critical to take the time to consider the legal, financial, and emotional ramifications of separating from your spouse and the effect this process will have on your potential post-divorce situation so that you can make the best decisions for yourself and your future.
If you and your spouse are considering divorce, don’t make any decisions about how to proceed before talking with a trusted attorney in your area. Your divorce and any settlement you create will be subject to your state’s divorce laws. Without discussing your situation with an attorney, your agreement may not be what you want or what is beneficial to your future.
If you’re in South Carolina, it’s important to contact an experienced family court attorney like J. Benjamin Stevens today to discuss your specific situation. Even if you aren’t in South Carolina, Mr. Stevens is happy to offer referrals to a well-qualified attorney located in your state. Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and he is a Board-Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. If you or someone you know is facing a divorce, separation, child custody, visitation, or other family law case, contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule a consultation.
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Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an initial consultation.
ABOUT J. BENJAMIN STEVENS
Ben.Stevens@offitkurman.com | 864.598.9172
Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is one of only two attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. He has held numerous leadership positions in the AAML, and he currently serves as one of its National Vice Presidents. Mr. Stevens has a statewide practice and regularly appears all across South Carolina. His practice is focused on complex divorce and child custody cases.
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Offit Kurman, one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the United States, serves dynamic businesses, individuals and families. With 19 offices and more than 280 lawyers who counsel clients across more than 30 areas of practice, Offit Kurman helps maximize and protect business value and personal wealth by providing innovative and entrepreneurial counsel that focuses on clients’ business objectives, interests and goals. The firm is distinguished by the quality, breadth and global reach of its legal services and a unique operational structure that encourages a culture of collaboration. For more information, visit www.offitkurman.com.
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