What Can Be Included in A Prenuptial Agreement?

prenuptial agreementNot only is the divorce rate going up these days, but the rate at which couples are signing a prenuptial agreement has also been on the rise.

Although it has long been perceived as a measure to protect the wealthy from gold diggers, spouses of a wider range of incomes are now signing prenuptial agreements as a way to determine how their property will be divided in the event of a divorce. It essentially provides a blueprint for how debts, assets, and other financial matters will be handled within the marital estate if the marriage ends.

Rather than a sign that trust is lacking in the relationship, one could think of a prenuptial agreement as a way to speed up the divorce process and even improve marital happiness by helping spouses avoid disputes over money and property.

Reasons for Getting A Prenuptial Agreement

Spouses generally want to consider signing a prenuptial agreement if they have any personal or otherwise pre-marital property they want to protect from the possibility of getting touched during divorce. This includes any property the person owns, including real estate, a retirement account, and/or their business(es) if they’re a business owner. These agreements can, and often do, involve property the spouses expect they will receive after the date of the marriage, but that both parties agree will remain, for all intents and purposes, that spouse’s sole property.

Children from a prior relationship are also a big motivator for many people to get a prenuptial agreement, as many parents will want to protect any assets or funds the children might inherit. A prenuptial agreement can define what property will belong solely to that spouse and his or her specified beneficiaries.

What Cannot Be Included In A Prenuptial Agreement

While a prenuptial agreement can avoid many of the “classic” disputes people think of during a divorce, a prenuptial agreement cannot determine a party’s obligation for child support. Child support belongs to the child, and the child alone, and as such, public policy in Illinois indicates that it cannot be contracted in advance or given away by a parent. Because children’s financial needs change depending on their age and circumstances, it is impossible to determine ahead of time how much (if any) child support they may need by the time the couple gets divorced, which could be any number of years in the future, if it happens at all. This is the same rationale behind the policy prohibiting spouses in a divorce from entering into an Agreement that no child support will ever be owed to the other parent and/or that a child support amount cannot be modified in the future.

The same goes for custody of children. If a couple does get divorced, a judge will determine what is best for the child at that point in time.

Dividing Marital Property

Any property a person owns prior to getting married is generally considered their personal property, and it will most often be returned to them by a divorce judge even without a prenuptial agreement. To the contrary, property and assets acquired during marriage are presumed to be marital property regardless of how they are titled, and that’s where divorces can get contentious. In order to avoid such a mess, a prenuptial agreement can decide ahead of time how marital property will be divided in the event of a divorce.

Things That Are Commonly Included In Prenuptial Agreements

In addition to protecting personal property, assets, and debts, prenuptial agreements can determine the following:

  • A spouse’s right to use, manage, transfer, sell, or dispose of property during marriage
  • Alimony that will be paid by a spouse after divorce, including the amount and duration of payments
  • A spouse’s right to ownership of death benefits from their partner’s life insurance policy
  • A spouse’s requirement to create a will that will carry out the terms of the agreement; and
  • Which state laws can be applied to the contract in the event of divorce.

Enforceability

A prenuptial agreement is there to give both parties peace of mind, but there are certain requirements the contracts must meet in order to be enforceable in each state. Whichever state’s marriage law you decide will apply to your prenuptial agreement, make sure the contract abides by all of that state’s requirements for prenuptial agreements. The timing and execution of a premarital agreement is also an important consideration, as an agreement made under coercion or duress will be held unenforceable by the Court.

The attorneys at Sherer Law Offices have been providing legal representation for divorce cases, as well as all types of family law for more than 20 years. Our experienced divorce attorneys will take the time to really listen to your unique situation so that they can plan strategies that can best protect your best interests. 

Common Mistakes People Make During Divorce

Common Mistakes People Make During DivorceWe all make mistakes, especially when we’re stressed and feeling emotional. Few things are more stressful or more emotional than divorce, but that’s also when it’s most important to refrain from making any mistakes.

When litigating and/or settling divorce, it’s nothing less than our lives at stake. In addition to financial assets and alimony, any marriage with children will also have to deal with dividing decision-making duties and parenting time schedules. These are all things no one can afford to lose, so if you’re getting divorced, make sure you’re not making these common mistakes:

Not listening to the experts.

We’ve already talked about why it’s important to hire a divorce attorney rather than trying it DIY, but it’s equally important to listen to the attorney you’ve hired. They’re the expert and they’re able to look at the situation without all the emotional baggage you’re bringing to the divorce. You don’t have to take their advice if you don’t feel like it’s really what you want, but if your attorney is strongly advising you to do (or avoid) something, you need to take that under serious consideration.

Taking advice from people other than your attorney.

Just as important as taking advice from your attorney is not taking advice from people other than your attorney. When getting divorced, everyone will be full of advice, and it may be tempting to take advice from everyone from your best friend to your pharmacist. Even though they may have the best of intentions, they won’t necessarily know what’s best for you.  Even if you trust their opinion or believe they have all the facts because they went through a divorce or custody battle in the past, understand that they don’t have all the facts. Every divorce is different and more than likely, the Judge handling your case now did not hear your friends’ case. Outcomes in divorce vary greatly depending on the Judge you have, and it is your attorney’s job to advise you on how the Judge on your case may rule.   Also, as we posted previously, the laws changed significantly in Illinois in 2015, 2016 and 2017 via separate amendments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. So, all of these changes mean your divorce will be handled much differently than those heard by the Court even just a year ago.

Fighting over the children.

In many divorces, each party just wants to hurt the other, and few things hurt worse than denying someone access to their children. But it’s important to set aside your hurt feelings and pride and consider what’s really best for the children. If the other party wants to spend time with their children and they’re not putting them in any danger by doing so, the Court will insist that you allow them to have time with their children. Denying time or the ability to participate in a co-parenting relationship usually backfires on the parent withholding the children. Finally, your relationship will benefit from it in the long run and your children will benefit from having both parents remain active and present in their lives.

Continuing to litigate a case when settling would make more sense.

There are many reasons people choose to continue to litigate a case rather than settle. Sometimes people think they can get more money out of their spouse if they have their “day in Court.” Other times they just want to get revenge on their spouse, and they decide to do that by dragging out the matter as long as possible.

But in many cases, you can get more money by settling the case as soon as possible and saving yourself the additional legal fees involved in continuing to litigate. And while you may want revenge for the pain your spouse inflicted on you, choosing to drag out the litigation, rather than settling and getting it over with, can do as much damage to you (both emotionally and financially) as to the other party. There’s no point in taking the time and energy to hurt someone else if you hurt yourself in the process. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can advise you when it is worthwhile to litigate the case than to settle.

These and many other mistakes can be made when you allow yourself to be carried away by the harrowing emotions that can come along with divorce. Instead of focusing on the negative feelings you’re experiencing right now, try to consider the kind of relationship you want with your ex-spouse and your children later on down the road. Let that foresight (and your attorney) be your guide in how you handle your divorce.

The attorneys at Sherer Law Offices have been providing legal representation for divorce cases, as well as all types of family law for more than 20 years. Our experienced divorce attorneys will take the time to really listen to your unique situation so that they can plan strategies that can best protect your best interests. 

Understanding Why A Do-It-Yourself Divorce Is Dangerous

do-it-yourself divorceThere are some projects where it might be practical to DIY – divorce is not one of those projects.

As wonderful as the internet is, it does not, in fact, contain all the answers. Conducting an internet search of the marriage laws in your state does not give you an idea of how those marriage laws actually play out in the courtroom. And TV courtroom dramas are nothing more than entertainment and are not meant to give the impression that being an attorney is easy and anyone can do it.

As appealing as it might sound to be able to pay a single, small fee for all the legal documents you’ll need for your divorce, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There’s no denying the fact that attorneys cost money and many people getting divorced are afraid they can’t afford it. But the fact is they can’t afford not to hire an attorney to help them with their divorce.

When two people have been married for any length of time, they have formed a life together. They have combined not just living space, but assets and possessions. If they had children together or were jointly raising children from a previous relationship, those children will be heavily affected by the divorce, and they deserve more than a packet of documents off the internet.

More often than not, trying to save money with a DIY divorce backfires, sometimes to the point of one partner having to file for bankruptcy after the divorce. If you weren’t trained to defend your case in a courtroom, you won’t be properly equipped to represent your best interests. Even if there’s no one more motivated to protect your rights than you, that doesn’t mean you know the best way to go about doing so in a courtroom.

By insisting on a DIY divorce, you could unintentionally get a bad deal for yourself when negotiating settlements and end up with a far smaller settlement than an experienced divorce attorney could have gotten for you. If children are involved you could end up with less parenting time and/or less child support than you are owed.

And are you aware of the developing laws regarding pets in divorce? Some state divorce laws are starting to treat pets more like children (since their owners certainly do), but Illinois still treats pets like property – meaning, if you both acquired the pet during the marriage, the pet will be divided along with the furniture, heirlooms, etc. If you and your spouse acquired a pet together, and you want to make sure the pet stays with you, you’re going to need a competent divorce attorney on your side.

Many couples who try a DIY divorce end up back in the courtroom a year or two later to sort out all the things their DIY divorce missed or failed to handle properly. That costs more time and more court fees. Further, they’ll probably end up having to pay the attorneys’ fees they were hoping the DIY divorce would avoid, only now the fees will be much higher because the attorney will require more time, effort, and resources to sort out the mess made by the DIY divorce. Obtaining your rightful property may also be impossible if you’ve already given it away, as property settlements are generally not disturbed 30 days after the Judgment. Bottom line: it is easier and less expensive to do it right the first time.

Finally, don’t ever assume that a Court will just accept the settlement that you and your spouse come up with in your DIY divorce. More and more judges are refusing to enter divorce agreements that are based on online forms, even the ones the parties paid for using an online document servicer/generator. This is not because Judges prefer to have attorneys, but rather because the Judge can usually identify the problems with the documents or potential pitfalls with the parties’ agreement. So, by rejecting the documents and advising the parties to go seek an attorney to review them, the Judge is actually helping the parties by avoiding a situation where one or both of them has to return to Court down the road to fix the problems.

The attorneys at Sherer Law Offices have been providing legal representation for divorce cases, as well as all types of family law for more than 20 years. Our experienced divorce attorneys will take the time to really listen to your unique situation so that they can plan strategies that can best protect your best interests. 

Does Cohabitation End Spousal Support?

cohabitationYour divorce is final. All the judgements have been entered, the custody battles have ended, and the support payments have started. You are eager to move on with your life and find someone new to spend your time with. If you depend on your support payments, you must be careful if things begin to get serious. If you have a desire to live with your new significant other, it could mean living without your ex’s support payments.

Cohabitation

Illinois is one of the many states where cohabitation will end spousal support payments from an ex. The idea of spousal support is to help the less financially secure spouse in the divorce transition into life as a single person. Generally, spouses make different amounts of money, and the one that earns less will need time to adjust. Support payments are the discretion of the family law judge, and different factors are taken into consideration. These include the previous standard of living, income level in relation to the income of the spouse, education level as compared to the spouse, and other levels. Once the Court determines that a spouse is a candidate for alimony payments, Illinois law uses mathematical formulas to determine how much the spouse receives from his or her ex, and for how long.

The prevailing rationalization on why cohabiting terminates maintenance is that two people living in the same residence are often each contributing to the living arrangement. Therefore, it would be unfair to make an ex continue to pay support if the spouse is already receiving support from a live-in partner. This logic in undeniable, but what constitutes “cohabitation” for the purpose of spousal support?

Illinois Law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act says that support will be ended “if the party receiving support cohabits with another person on a resident, continuing, conjugal basis.” From the Act’s plain language, this means that if the party receiving support were living with another as a married couple would live together, support would be terminated.

Illinois courts have interpreted the law in this way. The Illinois Supreme Court has said that two people must be in a “husband-and-wife-like relationship”, and that the family law judge must consider the “unique nature of each relationship” when determining if cohabiting exists.  For example, non-married couples will often share joint accounts for purposes of paying bills, take vacations together, stay overnight together the majority of the time, maintain joint cell phone accounts, etc. In one court, cohabitation was even found when a boyfriend would often stay overnight at the home of the party that was getting support, despite the fact he still had his own home. The court’s decision was based on the length of the relationship, vacations that were taken together, and various other factors that showed the parties were acting similar to how a married couple lives. The judge in these cases must take every aspect of these relationships into consideration, and their decision will not be questioned if it was not against the weight of the evidence.

Seek the Advice of a Family Law Attorney

Support payments are an important part of the divorce process. Needs and circumstances change, and the support needs to be able to change as well. Modification is a strong possibility for support payments, either going up or down. At Sherer Law Offices, our experienced family law attorneys can guide you through the process and help you get the results you need.

CONTACT US TODAY!

 

Top 5 Things To Consider When Hiring A Divorce Attorney

o-LAWYER-CLIENT-MEETING-facebookIf you are looking for a divorce attorney to represent your case, you are already aware that this can be an overwhelming and daunting task. The attorney you select will be trusted with your personal and financial information that you may not have shared before. They will take on many different roles throughout your case – most importantly, they will assist you in making important and very difficult decisions, so this person must not only be experienced and knowledgeable, but also highly trustworthy.

The following are some of the top aspects you should look for when searching for a divorce attorney:

#1 – Attentive and Concerned

The attorney you choose should actively care about your situation; you should not feel that you or your situation is unimportant to your attorney. Additionally, your attorney should be willing to introduce you to the people who will actively work alongside you throughout your case, such as paralegals, associate attorneys and administrative staff. Your attorney’s team plays an important role in the process as well.

#2 – Recommended by Someone You Know and Trust and Who Has Been in Your Shoes

The attorney you choose should have experience in family law. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential attorney about the cases he or she has successfully handled and if they have a specific area of expertise with the most important issues in your case, such as child custody, maintenance, or property division. Become aware of the number of cases your potential attorney has tried to juries and judges and/or their experience with in-depth settlement negotiations. In the event your case goes to court or enters the negotiation stage, you will want an attorney who is comfortable and competent, delivering your case in any setting.

A good practice is to seek out former client testimonials. Ask family members and friends if they know of the attorney and/or have any feedback they can share. Talk with people who have been represented by or have worked with the prospective attorney to get an idea of the client-attorney relationship. If family and friends aren’t the best resource for you, then do your research of the firm online to see if they have any published reviews from clients. The best advertisement that an attorney can get is word of mouth.

#3 – Clear Lines of Communication

A good attorney will speak in terms that you can easily understand and also be willing to explain anything that may be confusing to you. Clear communications with a potential attorney is a must; look for an attorney who listens and responds readily to your questions. Be sure to bring any questions to your initial consultation.

#4 – Carries a Professional Demeanor

Remember, you are hiring someone to accurately and effectively represent you. You want an attorney who works with you to recommend and implement the best strategy for propelling you toward your goals. They absolutely must be an effective advocate for you, so make sure they represent you in an ethical manner and promote your interests. Although it may not be evident in the initial meeting, you will want to be wary of an attorney who promises something quickly or makes a guarantee. No attorney can ever “guarantee” a result, as there are often too many factors at play in any court case. Your best bet is an attorney who is honest with you, one who has the skills to accomplish your goals, and one who you believe has your best interests at heart.

#5 – Offers a Clear Outline of Financial Expectations

Lastly, your attorney should clearly outline her/his hourly rate, retainer amount and policy, billing and payment procedures. All of this should be presented to you in writing and explained thoroughly to you preceding representation. Note, however, that unless the attorney is charging on a flat fee basis, rarely will an attorney be able to tell you with certainty what the “final cost” will be for any case. Again, often there are too many factors at play in litigation.

Find The Right Attorney for You

If you are looking for a divorce attorney, you will need a legal team that you can trust. Contact the divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Barbara Sherer. We offer you access to expert legal advice while making sure that the outcome serves your best interests.

Same-Sex Divorce: Is The Process Different?

same-sex-marriage-divorce-rateSome aspects of same-sex divorces are similar to traditional divorces. However, sometimes same-sex divorces can have additional legal issues, including but not limited to: the validity of the marriage, when and where the marriage began, what rules exist with regard to the couples’ finances, if both spouses are legal parents, and/or why it’s important to legally end a partnership. Home states for many same-sex couples did not recognize their relationships, therefore couples decided to travel to another state to get married. By doing so, every couple with multiple registrations has to take extra steps as they separate.

Is It Time To Legally End Your Union?

If you were married, registered, or a partnership was created, you are legally and financially bound to your partner, unless you terminate those arrangements. Recent rulings at the federal level have changed legal aspects of same-sex marriage and divorce, so if your union didn’t seem legally significant when registered, time and recent changes may affect the scope of those decisions.

Tips On How To End Your Same-Sex Union/Marriage

Some of the easier registrations to terminate are those with employers, cities, and counties. Each will have its own termination form and for the most part all that is required is completing and submitting a form. In some instances, your partner’s signature may not even be required, however it is best that you notify your ex-partner of each action taken in writing so that should an issue arise later, you have documentation.

State registrations or marriages are generally much more complicated to terminate. In situations where your current home state does not recognize same-sex unions or marriages, your local court judge may refuse to grant a divorce, even with regard to the current federal ruling. A judge may be even more reluctant when faced with dealing with registrations from several states. And although it may seem easier to return to the state where you were married or partnered, most states have residency requirements in order to file for divorce.  In Illinois, for example, you cannot file for divorce unless you have resided in the State for at least ninety (90) days. By checking with the state in which you were married, you can determine the requirements for your specific circumstances.

Conflict and Divorce

No matter who is involved in a marriage, the basic premise remains the same when facing divorce: you want the best and most painless way for you and your family to get through this most difficult time. As such, there are several options to consider as you work toward choosing a method of resolution. Options are available to you to achieve resolution if you and your spouse wish to settle your dispute without going to court: mediation, negotiation or collaborative divorce proceedings.

Negotiation

Negotiation, simply defined, is discussions geared toward reaching an agreement. Negotiation often involves each spouse deciding together how to divide property, or it can mean that you each hire lawyers who negotiate on your behalf to carry out your wishes.

Emotions can complicate issues such as parental rights and division of property. However, if you are able to negotiate directly with each other, you will avoid court and lawyer fees. What you will need is a clear understanding of not only your position, but that of your partner, and the ability to keep a strict focus on the end result while showing that you are open to compromise.

If this option is not for you, a lawyer can be hired to negotiate for you on your behalf. Your lawyer will work with your partner’s lawyer toward resolution that involves the exchange of possible settlement options until an agreement is reached.

Mediation

Mediation plays out with a neutral negotiator, or mediator, who works with each of you to resolve disputes using effective communication regarding your needs and interests until an issue is resolved. A mediator is not a judge, and mediators do not make legal decisions or issue rulings.

Mediation may be an appropriate option in same-sex divorces. Often, same-sex spouses may have been accumulating property together for much longer than they have had the right to marry. As such, mediation may be an appropriate venue for itemizing assets or debts that, although were not acquired during their legal marriage, were in fact acquired after the couple decided to enter into a marriage-like arrangement but were prohibited from legally marrying. If this is the case, mediation may be best for you.

Further, something to note is that where a couple has children, Illinois court rules require parties to complete at least four (4) hours of mediation if a divorce action is filed. So, many attorneys will encourage parties to attend mediation even before a divorce is filed, as it may be required anyway if or when a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed with the Court. There are exceptions to the mediation requirement, but only the Court can make this determination to waive mediation once a case becomes contested.

Collaborative Divorce

A relatively new method is Collaborative Divorce, which contains elements of lawyer-assisted negotiations and mediation. Each party hires an attorney, who then advocates for each client. Both spouses and lawyers sign a written agreement that the case will not go to court and agree instead to settle it. If one party chooses litigation, each attorney withdraws and the couple must choose new representation. The new set of attorneys then begin a new representation.

Contested Divorce Proceedings

In the event an agreement cannot be reached, most spouses will hire representation, and all disputes will be submitted to a judge for resolution, except as stated above with regard to Court-ordered mediation. Although hiring an attorney is not a Court requirement, it is not advisable to represent yourself in any divorce proceeding. If you are considering this option, be prepared to spend a lot of time organizing documents and researching the law to create a solid legal argument that supports your position, as well as preparing yourself to present your case in front of a judge.

Further, this likely will not be a quick or cost-effective method as many jurisdictions, particularly in Illinois, only schedule pro se dockets for certain days/weeks of the month. Additionally, given how many Court dockets are scheduled, a frequent result is that cases involving attorneys are often heard first since the Court is acknowledging of the fact that attorneys are being paid for their time to appear that day. As such, pro se litigants often end up having to take a significant time off from work to appear at every court appearance and wait for their turns to speak with the Judge. If you are represented by an attorney, the attorney can usually appear on your behalf at procedural court appearances such as status hearings, meaning you will only be required to appear when it is necessary.

Hiring the right lawyer for you is essential to achieving a settlement or resolution that is best for all involved. The legal team at Sherer Law Offices can help you navigate the divorce process and provide support should disputes arise.

The Divorce Decision Is Made, Now What Comes Next?

o-DIVORCED-WOMEN-facebookSo, you have decided your best course of action is to dissolve your marriage with your spouse? Before you do anything, it’s important to get your ducks in a row. Determine what you own, what you owe and get a good idea of each party’s annual salary.

Once you have a handle on your assets, income and debts, seek legal advice from a trusted, respected attorney in your community. Ask friends and other respected members of the community for a recommendation. An attorney will help you navigate the process and help you figure out many of the milestones and questions you will have throughout your divorce.

Separation or Divorce?

Separation and divorce can be confusing. There are different types of separation and each type has different property rights according to which separation is chosen.

Trial Separation vs. Living Separately:

A trial separation is an agreement by a couple to live apart for a period of time to determine if they will separate permanently. During this time, the assets accumulated by the couple and the debts they incur are often considered marital property. This option is not usually legally recognized.

Living apart indicates that a couple does not intend to reunite. With this option the couple no longer shares the same dwelling and changes the spouses’ property rights. Some states consider property accumulated and debts incurred while living apart to the debt of the person who incurred it. In some states, this property is considered joint until a divorce complaint is filed. Additionally, a couple must live apart for a period of time and after this period, the couple is then permitted to file for a no-fault divorce.

Legal vs. Permanent Separation:

When a court rules on the division of property, alimony, child support and custody and/or visitation, but does not grant a divorce, it is known as a legal separation. This option is not common, however, there are instances where a couple does not wish to divorce because of financial, personal or religious beliefs. This is a court order that addresses all issues that would be outlined in a divorce.

A permanent separation occurs when a couple decides to part and begins immediately when the couple begins living apart. During this time, assets received and most debts incurred are considered as separate responsibility of the person who incurred them. However, debts after separation and before divorce are usually considered joint debts if established for such necessities as providing for children or home maintenance.

Options for Divorce

Making the decision to divorce as a couple is usually best. The more issues you can work out together, means you will decide topics such as how your children will be raised, what happens to the family home, as well as the division of property. By making these decisions a couple you can save on money, time and heartache. By avoiding continued parental fighting, a couple can help their children through a tough time with a little less pain involved.

Collaborative practice is an instance in which the clients and lawyers agree that court is not an option and will voluntarily share information while working together cooperatively toward a settlement. These cases exists where each client’s lawyer is a collaborative lawyer and sign an agreement that in the event a case is not settled, each couple has to hire new litigation representation. The lack of financial incentive to go to court encourages each party to settle earlier.

Is A Lawyer Necessary?

If abuse is an issue – spousal, child, sexual or substance abuse – you should definitely hire a lawyer. It may be impossible for the abused spouse to negotiate the terms of divorce and in instances such as this a lawyer can sort out necessary steps to take to establish protection for the abused spouse and the children.

Additionally, it is sound thinking to hire a lawyer in the event your spouse is dishonest or vindictive, in which case, you may need someone who speaks in your best interest.

Lastly, if your spouse has an attorney, this is a good indication to engage your own attorney. Once again, your attorney will keep your best interests in mind and if you have children or are facing financial issues, hiring your own lawyer can provide you with a clear perspective that will help you throughout the proceedings and can speak favorably on your behalf.

A Judge’s Resolution Does Not Make Happier Consumers

The number of issues resolved at trial decreases the satisfaction with the process. The longer a case is extended, the unhappier the participants are likely to become. And no matter the result, some people are naturally unreasonable and dissatisfied because of the money they have spent to dissolve the marriage and the contested nature of divorces that go to trial.

Protect Your Rights with a Respected Attorney You Can Trust

If you have decided on divorce action, you need a legal team that can help you navigate divorce processes and guide you through all disputes. Contact the divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Barbara Sherer. We provide you with expert legal advice while making sure that the outcomes will protect you and your family.

What Not to Do When Getting a Divorce

divorce_2147804bAnyone who has been through it can tell you: divorce is not easy. Tension is high and couples can make bad decisions in the heat of the moment. With the vast amount of financial, emotional, and practical details that have to be sorted out, it’s not a surprise that some couples make critical mistakes with their divorce.

That being said, there are many key things you should do, or not do to make sure you don’t regret you choices later. Here are some things to avoid when filing for a divorce.

Don’t Forget to Change your Will

A will does not automatically get revoked when you get a divorce. If you don’t want your soon-to-be ex to receive any of the benefits given to them in your will, you need to change it. This can be done at any time. Be aware, however, that if you happen to die before the divorce is granted and your spouse has nothing left to them, they can sue and recover part of your estate.

Don’t Dismiss Collaborative Divorce or Mediation

Collaborative divorce is when you get the help of professionals, such as attorneys, divorce coaches or therapists to help you through the divorce process in an effort to minimize conflict. They can help to divide property and manage your emotional stress. In most cases, a collaborative divorce will be much less adversarial than traditional divorce.

Mediation is different. Only one person (a divorce mediator) helps you and your spouse reach an agreement. Medication is usually an on-going process rather than a one-time intervention. Paid lawyers are usually not allowed in a mediation meeting, but you can consult your lawyer at any time during the process to make sure you are getting a fair result.

Do Not Take it Out on Your Children

Your children need to be in a supportive environment to deal with the stress of a divorce. Minimize discussions with them about the process. This will allow you to have more time with them and refocus your energy on attending school events, helping them with their homework, or taking them out to see a movie. If you are relaxed, they will be more relaxed. Even though you should be comfortable talking about divorce with your children, the idea of the divorce is to relieve the stress that you and your family have been experiencing.

Do Not Refuse to See a Therapist

It is highly recommended that you see a therapist to help you deal with the range of emotions that you will experience as you go through your divorce. Get help before you become extremely depressed or angry. A therapist is not only someone you can talk to, they can also show you how to relax, talk to your kids, and how to remain calm when you are in court.

Don’t “Settle” Too Soon

Just because you want to end your marriage as quickly as possible, doesn’t mean you should give up your financial security. Make several copies of your important financial documents like pension statements, tax forms and credit card statements. It will help you keep track of what you receive and what you owe. Make sure you and your children will have continued health coverage during and after the divorce.

The attorneys at Sherer Law Offices have been providing legal representation for divorce cases for more than 20 years. We will take the time to listen to your concerns and help to protect you best interests.

CONTACT us today for a legal consultation.