Sometimes, filing for divorce is an inevitable solution to a problematic marriage. However, divorce does not always have to be messy and costly. Although it is best to hire a divorce attorney for legal representation, there are things that you and your spouse can do to ease the process. If you have already exhausted all of your other options and you both have decided that it is time to file for divorce, the following steps can better prepare you and shorten the divorce proceeding.
Attempt to decide who gets what early on
A lot of the dispute that goes into divorces is disagreements surrounding personal belongings. One spouse may believe that they have more right to keeping the house. The other spouse might believe that they should get sole ownership of the more expensive vehicle. One of the most common disputes is child custody. Parents who do not live nearby may struggle to find a child schedule that works with both wants and needs.
However, if you are able to sit down and hash out the differences of who deserves what, you can actually save a lot of time and money. Go into this discussion with compromise in mind. Fight for the one item that you truly want. This also applies to children. Fight for the one holiday or day that you truly want. Be prepared to give up on other wants and desires. Otherwise, a judge will eventually be the sole decider of who gets what and when the children see each parent.
Don?t try to leave your spouse with debt
Another problem that comes up in divorce proceedings is that of combined debt. Usually when you decide to separate lives, you also decide to separate bank accounts, belongings, and everything else. It can be difficult to decide who really owes for each type of debt. However, if you were married at the time the debt was acquired, the judge will likely rule that both of you are responsible for it. Trying to push off combined debt onto one of the spouses can prolong a divorce case. You might even end up spending more on divorce lawyers than you would, had you initially paid off the debt.
There are some types of debt that will stick with the individual spouse and cannot be combined. If you entered into the marriage with student loan or medical debt, you may be required to pay it off on your own. A recent Harvard University study showed that medical expenses account for approximately 62% of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. Additionally, statistics show that student loans account for at least 1% of all U.S. bankruptcies, which translates to roughly 15,000 bankruptcies a year. Bankruptcies due to personal student loan or medical debt should not be passed onto the other spouse. You might even want to wait to file for bankruptcy until the divorce is final.
Leave disputes to the divorce lawyer
If feelings are strong or the divorce has been especially messy thus far, it is usually best to leave disputes to your family lawyer. When emotions get mixed into the proceeding, it often gets delayed and every little decision becomes an argument. Make settlement and ownership agreements where you can and leave the rest to negotiations that occur between each of your divorce attorneys.
Divorce is unfortunately, a common thing in our country. Some statisticians say that up to 50% of marriages will end in divorce. The biggest problem with divorce is not that the couple has decided to go their separate ways. It is often that divorces are extremely messy and neither spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce. If you can find a way to come to some agreement before the divorce proceeding, you will find that you can speed up the process and minimize your costs.