Top Ten Dos and Don'ts If You Are Going Through A Divorce
1. DO REMAIN CALM. Understand that you are going to be OK, no matter what. If you are getting a divorce, it means that one or both of you are not happy and that you are not living your life to the fullest and experiencing marriage the way it was intended to be. This can be a new beginning for you. Ask yourself, was I really happy? The answer probably is "no" (even when you want to believe that it is "yes"). Focus on yourself and reconnect with family, friends, and the person that you used to be.
2. DO KEEP STATUS QUO. This is not the time to change everything. When the divorce is over, you can change things. Until the divorce is completed, it is not a good idea to quit your job, cancel insurance policies, drop health insurance coverage, stop paying all of your bills, or start bringing your children around a new significant other. You may compromise your case or get in trouble with the Court.
3. DO KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN. Lawyers and litigation are expensive. Even if you cannot come to terms on your marriage, perhaps you can resolve many issues of your divorce in an amicable fashion. Most people fight in a divorce not because they disagree on the issues, but because they are hurt and want to hurt the other person. Divorce is very expensive therapy and judges and lawyers seldom are qualified to deal with the emotional issues.
4. DO PUT YOUR CHILDREN FIRST. You and your spouse are getting a divorce, not your children. As far as a Judge is concerned, they are the children of "both" of you. They are not possessions and they are not tools to use to hurt the other person. Both parents, unless they are physically abusive or neglectful, have the right to see the children and continue their relationship with the children before, during, and after the divorce. Keeping the children from the other parent causes a great deal of harm to your children and your case.
5. DO TALK TO A BOARD CERTIFIED ATTORNEY. You need to understand your rights. A Jacksonville board certified divorce lawyer is the best person to answer all of your questions during this period of transition. Finding that budget attorney to just "type up the papers" can do a great deal of harm to your case. The reason that the price is so low is often because that attorney lacks the experience to understand all of the things that can go wrong and haunt you later.
6. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND. My office, and some other board certified Jacksonville divorce lawyers, offer free consultations. There is no reason to not get some free advice about your case. If you sign something, you may be stuck with it and your lawyer may not be able to fix it later. Some people always want to avoid conflict, save money, or think they understand the deal that they are making. There is no shame in asking for help. This is especially important in a military divorce.
7. DO NOT SNOOP. Florida is a "no-fault" divorce state. That means, for the most part, that even if your spouse had 100 affairs, it is not going to mean very much to the Judge in terms of how the financial or child issues in your divorce are decided. Scouring the other person's email, text messages, phone bills, or social network pages probably is just going to lead to something that is going to hurt you more, not help you in Court.
8. DO NOT BE IN DARK ABOUT YOUR FINANCES. Divorce means figuring out what it is going to cost you to live after your divorce and how you are going to meet those needs. It is often a time to sit down and figure out exactly what you have and what you owe. My office will work with you to create a solid financial plan to begin a new life as a single person with or without children. Alimony, child support, life insurance, pensions, and attorney fees are just a small part of the overall plan my office will try to create for you. Start gathering all of your financial documents for your meeting with your attorney to discuss your future financial security. Here is a list of what you may need to provide to your board certified Jacksonville divorce lawyer. Everyone has to file a financial affidavit in a divorce case. If you want to get a head start, you can find the basic one here.
9. DO NOT ESCALATE THE DIVORCE. If you are getting a divorce and you are beyond saving the marriage, you need to understand that all of your conversations are now business discussions. Laying blame, finding fault, name calling, begging, and/or bullying the other person are not going to result in productive discussions or negotiations. Everything that you say or do should be calculated to put aside hurt, heal emotional wounds, find a positive resolution, and work together to ease the transition.
10. DO NOT LISTEN TO EVERYONE'S OPINION. Every case has different facts, a different judge, different attorney dynamics, and different expectations. All of your friends and members of your family are wanting the best for you, but they do not understand the legal system or the law. A few people who have been divorced can be bad influences when they tell you about how the lawyer just took their money, how the judge was against them, or how the legal system was wrong. Board certified lawyers are certified as such by the Florida Bar because the lawyers and judges that they work with recognize them as having the highest professional ethics and experience to handle your case. Listen to a good attorney. Call today for your free consultation.