At Divorce In Colorado, I often tell clients no one “wins” in divorce. Winning is having a legal team you know hears you, understands you, and is advocating for and defending you. We are here for you with experience, professionalism, and compassion. You win with our team approach making sure your divorce or family law matter is handled with care and respect in the most private, cost-effective and time-efficient way possible. You win with detailed agreements that leave your family safe and secure after separation. Here are 7 tips to a successful divorce that I share with many of our clients.
1. Work Together
Divorce often results in paranoia, miscommunication, and fighting that can cost people emotionally and financially a lot more than necessary. No one knows your family, your finances or your future plans better than the two of you. Working together on your financial disclosures will save time and help you better understand the reality of your marital financial situation. Knowing the same information is half the battle.
2. Know Your Numbers
Account balances are what they are and may change throughout the 3 months of divorce. If there are any premarital values – meaning you can determine your separate interest in assets or amount of debts brought to the marriage, collect that information. If you can’t agree to a home value, a business value, the marital value of any investments or retirement accounts, you may need to get them valued by experts. You must know the numbers and values of everything before you begin dividing everything.
3. Find Your Experts
The lawyer can advise you about your legal rights and the law as it applies to your situation, but there are many other professionals you may need to help you. Realtors can help you determine the current market value of your home. Mortgage brokers can help you find out if either of you will qualify to refinance the home and pay any share of equity owed. CPAs can discuss tax considerations for any division of assets you think may be best. Financial planners can help you know how to transition from double income to single income living, budgeting, and investment strategies moving forward.
While many may choose to hire the lawyer before worrying about experts, the important thing to remember is that your lawyer is not the fact finder. Having a head start on the information your lawyer will need to draft a proper separation agreement or parenting plan will limit the amount of lawyer time needed to help you. Many couples think mediation is a great alternative to speaking with a lawyer. It’s not. Mediators cannot offer any legal advice. Mediation is most effective when couples have all the information needed, have consulted with a lawyer, have attempted to negotiate their agreement and still aren’t able to settle some issues.
5. File Together
Sometimes couples don’t realize that there are ways to save money other than not hiring attorneys to help you through the divorce process. Filing a Co-Petition together, instead of one filing the Petition and the other filing the Response will save money in filing fees. Consulting with an attorney together to understand the process may save you from litigation costs. Know that many attorneys offer unbundled services – meaning you just work with lawyers on specific tasks or parts of your case. Learn more about the option of UnifiedDivorce.
6. Details Make All the Difference
Especially if you decide to draft your own separation agreement, make sure to be very specific and about the deadlines and details necessary to make sure everything happens as you agree. If you’re closing accounts, agree to a date certain for the accounts to be closed. If someone has to refinance the home into his or her own name, set a specific date for the re-finance to be completed and what happens if the deadline isn’t met.
For parenting plans, make sure to include what time exchanges are to occur, where they are to happen – at school or not? What happens when not in school? Don’t just say who the kids are with for the holiday, say what time and when the exchange is to occur? Who is responsible for the transportation?
If at a later date someone is not following the agreements, court action will require a specific order to enforce. Be very detailed and specific when drafting your plans. For more information about successful separation agreements consider getting my book, The Do It Yourself Guide to Divorce In Colorado.
7. Get In~Get Out ~Get Over It!
No one can tell you how long to grieve the end of your marriage, be upset about the pieces you are to pick up after divorce, or how to deal with the anger a broken marriage can cause. Some couples start the divorce and then fail to cooperate, communicate as needed to disclose the required information to resolve the outstanding issues and draft Agreements. Once the Divorce is initiated, whether you started the divorce or your spouse did, commit time to focus on the divorce at least once a week until everything is signed and filed. Mark that 92nd day on your calendar and do everything you can to get divorced in the shortest amount of time permitted by the State. Finally, while that magic piece of paper, known as your Divorce Decree may be a legal formality as you continue to raise a family together or spend some more time separating your finances, once the State declares the marriage over, do what you can to move on! Work on yourself. Be selfish. Find a new career path or hobby to enjoy. Leave what is behind you, behind you. Get over the reasons for the divorce, get over any concept of what you may have lost by getting divorced, and get over any hurdle keeping you from the future you deserve.