It is a well-known fact among divorce lawyers that January is the most popular month for people to initiate divorce. Perhaps that can be attributed to its promise of a new beginning; perhaps spending extra time over the holidays with spouses and extended family members was the final straw. No matter the cause, for those contemplating divorce in the start of the New Year, here are some key resolutions.
1. Find a trusted advisor
Before embarking on the path of divorce, find a trusted navigator. Surprisingly, some people are skeptical of this. They feel they can manage their own divorce using information they’ve gathered from the Internet, well-meaning friends or even financial advisors. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Choosing to proceed with a divorce without an attorney who specializes in family law in your jurisdiction is like going on a jungle safari without a guide. And, while the cost of legal representation is certainly a legitimate concern, proceeding without a lawyer or ignoring your lawyer’s advice could cost you much more in the end.
2. Take the high road
Without a doubt, divorce is filled with emotion. It is a situation where two people who once loved each other enough to marry are now at odds with each other. Often, one spouse feels wronged and wants revenge. Despite bad feelings, taking the high road in a divorce can make for a faster, peaceful and more economical resolution.
This is because courts, for the most part, do not get involved in the mudslinging and instead focus on finances. When parties look at only the emotional side of the divorce, they waste time and money and delay a resolution.
3. Think like Sherlock Holmes
Focusing on the finances of the divorce is of utmost importance because there cannot be a fair resolution until all assets are valued and incomes are revealed. Doing some personal detective work to uncover assets and determine values is critical. Making a phone call to your accountant or submitting a request to the IRS in order to secure a copy of joint tax returns can be a great starting point. Knowing where assets are located and how much money is in the bank before the divorce is filed can save a lot of time, effort and money after the divorce commences.
4. Focus on the future, but don’t forget the past
Once parties decide to divorce, they understandably want the process completed as soon as possible so they can move on with their lives. Certainly, looking forward to a better future is healthy; however, it is difficult to accomplish without learning from past mistakes. As such, it is important to examine and understand what went wrong in the marriage so it will not happen again.
5. Keep calm and let the process carry on
One of the most difficult things for divorcing parties to accept is the duration of the process. Divorces don’t happen overnight. In fact, a divorce can drag on for quite some time, a reality that proves frustrating for most people. Remaining calm and understanding that the divorce will eventually occur, albeit not immediately, can make it much easier.
Like other New Year’s resolutions, our promises to ourselves are made with the hope that they will improve our behavior and change our lives for the better. And like other New Year’s resolutions, sticking to them may prove difficult but well worth it in the end.