Even if you and your spouse have decided the best thing for everyone is to end your marriage, there are ways to make it easier for the people involved. An amicable divorce is possible and less traumatic for you, your spouse, and especially your children. With a little forethought and planning, even people who are angry with each other can ensure that their marriage ends with the least amount of friction. Deering Hedrick offers you these suggestions even before you consult us.
Protect the Children First
No matter how angry or bitter you and your spouse may be with one another, you should never take it out on the children. Never bring the children into your discussions, and never try to play the kids off against your spouse.
Family court judges have seen everything, and they are bound by law to consider the best interests of the children in making custody rulings, visitation decisions, and support arrangements. They often have the right to talk to your children, and they do not look kindly on parents who have been using their children as proxy soldiers in a marriage battleground.
Your children will be confused and upset by the divorce as it is. Don’t make things more difficult by involving them in your conflict with your spouse.
Contact an Attorney Early in the Process
Unless your divorce is both amicable and simple, you should always at least consult a skilled family law attorney. Virginia is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that property is divided fairly according to the monetary value of the property. So, one partner might get the house, the other might get the boat and the car, if they are of equal value.
This can lead to complex calculations when businesses, property acquired during the marriage, and gifts between the spouses are involved. It is best to talk to an attorney like Mike Deering to make sure you have done everything correctly.
Cover Your Business Interests
Many people these days have home or side businesses to augment their incomes. Many people learn too late that income made during the marriage becomes marital property unless it is previously stated that it will remain the property of the businessperson. It is never too late for an agreement regarding your business income. That agreement can be made official in what is sometimes called a “post-nuptial agreement.”
Other business interests, such as part-ownership and options, can be protected in the same way. This is another area where consulting an attorney before things go bad is a good idea.
Taxes and Other Financial Matters
The year after a divorce can be confusing. If you had been filing joint tax returns, you might be uncertain whether or not to keep doing so for the current year. You will need to decide who gets to claim the children as dependents. If the return results in a refund, you may want it sent to a location besides your joint bank account, which means changing your payment from automatic to check repayment.
These details are things that your attorney is paid to think about so that you do not have to during the stress of the divorce and so that you’re not caught off guard the following year when tax season rolls around.
Look After Your Mental Health
Thinking you can power through a divorce by yourself is why there are so many Hollywood movies that feature men alone in hotel rooms with bottles of Scotch or women sitting in empty bars. Even if your divorce is amicable, there will be times you wonder if it is the right thing, and times you will be angry, lonely, or scared.
Take care of yourself by building your support network early and keeping it strong. This does not mean gathering friends to listen to you bad-mouth your ex. Family counseling about terminating the marriage is possible, as is using mediation to help divide the property and arrange visitation. Do not feel you have to “go it alone.”
How Deering Hedrick Could Help
Mike Deering has the experience and compassion to get you and your spouse through the divorce. Although he can represent only you, he will work with your spouse or their attorney to keep things civil and negotiate all issues fairly.
If a case must go to trial, Attorney Mike Deering will advocate for you and your children to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome is reached for everyone. Contact Mike at 757-383-6848 if you are contemplating divorce or just want to review your options today.