Every divorce is unique, and most people who have completed divorces will report that the experience was one of the most challenging and stressful events they have ever experienced. Whether you and your spouse have made a mutual decision to end your marriage or one of you has decided to divorce, it’s natural to have lots of questions about the process. It’s also natural for people facing divorce proceedings to overlook critical details that have tremendous influence on their future.
If you plan to divorce soon, it’s essential to be as thorough as possible when it comes to evaluating the various aspects of your unique divorce case. An experienced divorce lawyer will be invaluable during every stage of your divorce, including the preliminary evaluation stage you must complete so you can approach the case with clarity and understanding. Consult with your attorney so you can avoid overlooking key aspects of your divorce case. The following are a few important things to consider as you prepare for your divorce.
Evaluate Existing Prenuptial Contracts
If you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement, you may assume that you can simply use your prenup as a roadmap for your divorce to streamline the process. However, this is only true if your prenuptial agreement is still valid and enforceable. If you haven’t revisited your prenuptial agreement in quite some time, it’s possible that recent life events have rendered it moot or unenforceable. You may also discover information during your divorce proceedings that directly pertains to elements of your prenuptial contract, and it is even possible to discover that the contract was null and void from its creation due to information your spouse failed to disclose at the appropriate time.
If you intend to leverage any aspect of your prenuptial agreement in your divorce, it is essential to have your attorney review the contract to ensure it remains enforceable. It’s vital to pay very close attention to the terms and conditions included in your prenuptial contract. It’s possible for some or all of it to have significant bearing on your divorce, and the elements of your prenuptial contract could become points of contention during your proceedings.
Modern Problems with Property Division
Many couples today have complex investments, including business assets, stock portfolios, and cryptocurrency holdings. Dividing these assets in divorce can be incredibly difficult. Additionally, disputes are likely to arise concerning the classification of certain assets. Most states recognize separate property and marital property in divorce. Spouses can keep their separate property but must divide their marital property according to state law.
If you have any financial concerns regarding your divorce, it’s imperative to discuss these issues with your attorney as soon as possible. A good divorce lawyer will help their client secure the documentation and records they need to establish separate property ownership rights. Depending on how your assets are classified, you and your spouse may need to liquidate certain assets and divide the proceeds or effectively “trade” assets to ensure an equitable division of marital property.
Revisit Your Estate Plan
One of the most commonly overlooked legal issues pertaining to divorce is estate planning. If you have created any type of estate plan while you were married, you very likely need to change various aspects of your plan after your divorce. In the event you were to die unexpectedly after your divorce before you had the opportunity to change your estate plan, your ex-spouse may have a valid legal claim on a sizeable portion of your estate.
Once you have decided to end your marriage, it is best to nullify any existing estate plans you have in place. You should also take time to review all the beneficiary designations you have for individual accounts, such as your life insurance policy and retirement fund. Your divorce lawyer can potentially offer valuable guidance for adjusting your estate plan to reflect your post-divorce circumstances.
Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution
Despite the fact that alternative dispute resolution for divorce has become increasingly common throughout the United States, when many people imagine divorce, they think of stressful, protracted court battles. Many divorcing spouses are unaware of their options in terms of alternative dispute resolution, such as collaborative divorce and mediation. If you are bracing for divorce, it’s best to review the benefits these options can potentially offer.
Taking advantage of divorce mediation can significantly reduce the time and expense required to complete your divorce. Even if you and your spouse do not seem to reach an agreement on anything and have deep personal issues, it is still possible to leverage the benefits of mediation when you have an experienced attorney guide you through the process.
Do not assume that your divorce must unfold through a difficult court battle when alternatives are available. It’s possible to use alternative dispute resolution as an “a la carte” method of resolving certain aspects of your divorce before proceeding with litigation, ultimately saving you and your spouse significant amounts of time and money.
Find Reliable Legal Counsel
Perhaps the most important thing to acknowledge about divorce is the value of legal representation. Many people make the mistake of assuming they can handle their divorce proceedings without legal counsel and save money on legal fees. Technically, it is possible to complete your divorce without hiring an attorney. However, this is inadvisable for several reasons.
Attempting to handle your divorce alone would mean meeting strict requirements from the court, compiling all the evidence and documentation you must present in your proceedings, and managing the various stages of the divorce process entirely unassisted while also managing your career and your household. This would be incredibly challenging, even for someone who has some knowledge of the modern family court system.
Hiring an experienced lawyer makes the entire divorce process easier. You will be less likely to overlook crucial details of your divorce and have the ability to approach each stage of the divorce process with confidence. It’s difficult to remain circumspect when facing an emotionally stressful situation like a divorce. If you want to address your divorce comprehensively and secure a divorce order that suits your needs and preferences, it’s important to secure legal counsel as soon as possible once you have committed to the divorce process. Contact an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your best legal options for handling the situation effectively.