by Amy Saunders
So here’s the inside scoop. I’ve been a divorce attorney for several years and my friends often ask me for advice when they’re facing a divorce.
Beyond legal advice, here are my top tips for starting and getting through a divorce.
1. Absolutely Ignore Legal Advice from Your Spouse: Spouses will often try to offer each other legal advice. Really? Feel free to listen, but have it reviewed because it is always wrong. In my experience, there is usually a “lawyer,” but they never call, make an appearance or give sound advice. Don’t let your spouse scare you.
2. Children are not leverage: You or your spouse should not be using children to get leverage in a divorce, even if it you want to. It is unacceptable and it hurts the children. Moreover, it will backfire on you in court. Don’t bad mouth your spouse — no matter what they did — it is just wrong. On the other hand, you don’t need to paint a rosy picture either — just keep the emotions out of it. Keep the long-term in mind.
3. Start Documenting. Start making copies of your spouses tax returns, bank accounts, and payroll stubs BEFORE you let the cat out of the bag. This will save you a lot of time and money in lawyer fees. Once you have all of that together a package of your monthly income and expenses including your mortgage and all debts. Copy everything and keep it somewhere outside of the marital home. This will put you ahead of the game.
4, Don’t be afraid to get help. Make appointments with therapists, buy some bubble bath (yeah, you too guys), make time for your kids and friends, and pick up new hobbies. Take care of yourself. Eat right and hit the gym.
5. Tell People. Often people are ashamed or frightened to tell their friends and relatives that they are going through a divorce. When in all reality, your friends and family already know there is something wrong. Don’t think you are outsmarting anyone. Tell them because you will need a support system. Don’t wait.
6. Don’t fall for it: Your spouse will say things to intentionally upset you. Ignore it. If you feel this is the case, have your counsel speak for you, otherwise your emotions may get the best of you and you may end up regretting it. You can also limit communication to text and emails, which allows more time to filter your emotions — but keep in mind all written communication can show up in court.
7. To Date or Not to Date? If you decide you want to date keep in mind that it is a felony, however one likely not to get prosecuted. If you do decide to date, make sure it is done discretely as to not offend your spouse. They may not be as cooperative if you are flaunting a new relationship. And for goodness sakes, NEVER, EVER, under any circumstances, bring your date to court.