Divorces and divorce laws can be traced all the way back to King Hammurabi’s rule in 1760 BC. However, mainstream media and movies over the past decades have given people a preconceived notion of what divorce looks like. Many of these preconceived notions are untrue, and every divorce presents its own set of struggles, compromises, and new beginnings.
Whenever a marriage ends, spouses and their children are often in the midst of a perfect storm of stress. The divorce process requires those involved with a divorce to adjust to new living arrangements, parenting schedules, and property and money decisions. As a result of these changes, spouses may have difficulty understanding the legal process of divorce, and may even be incapable of making informed decisions. If you are aware of the divorce process before it begins, you may be able to get through it more easily. Here’s a list of things many people don’t know about divorce.
Take Friend’s Divorce Stories With A Grain Of Salt
Just because a friend went through a terrible, long, and emotional divorce does not mean that you will. No two divorce cases are the same, therefore any advice you receive from divorced friends or family should be taken with a grain of salt. Any information or advice they give you could be misleading, or generally false, which can cause you to make mistakes or bring too much emotion into the divorce proceedings.
Every divorce has a different set of issues. There is a possibility that your friends believe what happened in their divorce is typical, but you should not make your decisions based on someone else’s experience. Rather, it’s best to consult with your attorney, mental health professionals, and financial consultants, who are familiar with your specific circumstances.
Create An Inventory Of Household Items & Copies Of Important Documents
Taking a complete inventory of your home can help prevent disputes over furniture, furnishings, and other valuable items, such as valuable collections, or expensive artifacts. The best way to do this is to:
- Each item should be photographed, along with sets of small items, such as dinnerware, photo collections, or knick-knacks
- Place something that provides the day’s date in every photo taken for inventory. That day’s newspaper can be used in the photos as a form of time stamp.
- Store photos in a safe place that children or your spouse cannot get to them
- Create a detailed list of all items that you wish to include in the inventory. Also, include where they are located as well as the estimated value of each item.
- Obtain appraisals for items, or ask your insurance provider to provide an insurance inventory
It is not uncommon for divorcing spouses to conceal or destroy key documents such as prenuptial agreements, regardless of the strict rules for disclosure. If you know that your spouse is filing for divorce, or if you decide to file yourself, make copies of all important documents as soon as possible.
Holidays & Family Events Will Change
In the midst of managing your grief, a significant holiday or family event could remind you that you have recently gone through a divorce. Divorced couples may find weddings particularly challenging, especially if they attend them alone. We recommend that you bring a friend or family member with you to these types of events in order to not only feel less lonely but also to gain a better understanding of how to take advantage of them. As a result, you will be able to maintain relationships with family and friends who are interested in your attendance at these events.
You Need To Be Honest
To properly analyze your case and provide you with advice, you must provide your attorney with all key facts. The truth may still emerge regardless of whether you hide something from your attorney. Spouses may learn hidden facts from a third party or by reviewing shared documents. Nonetheless, you might already have hurt your case if you failed to be upfront and honest by that point.
It is also important, to be honest with your spouse. Divorcing spouses must disclose their income, expenses, assets, and debts voluntarily in Colorado. As new information becomes available, spouses must update that information.
The law is serious about these duties. Judges may impose severe penalties on spouses who fail to comply. For instance, if a spouse won a significant amount of money in a lottery, but failed to disclose the information to their spouse, the judge could award not just half, but all of the winnings to the spouse that was lied to.
There Are Alternatives To Going To Court
It is a common misconception that all divorces end up in court. As a matter of fact, there are alternative methods for resolving divorce cases. Mediators facilitate face-to-face negotiations between divorcing spouses and assist them in forming mutual agreements through mediation. Mediation is comprised of a neutral third party that specializes in divorce cases. Mediation often involves the mediator recommending that each spouse consults with an attorney while the process is in progress.
“Collaborative divorce” is when both spouses hire collaborative attorneys, and all parties agree to settle their dispute outside the courtroom. The decision-making process is assisted by a team of professionals. Besides attorneys, divorce teams usually include mental health professionals (also called “divorce coaches” and child specialists), as well as neutral financial experts, such as an accountant or financial consultants. The spouses and their collaborative team negotiate each issue using face-to-face meetings, e-mails, and phone calls.
Divorcing spouses have the advantage of making their own decisions through mediation or collaborative divorce. For example, if the judge is dividing parenting time, they may choose a standard schedule similar to what is used in other cases. A parenting plan can be designed in mediation or collaboration based on the needs of the children.
There are times, however, when going to court is the only option. In the event that you or your child are the victims of domestic violence, you will be required to request a protective order from your spouse. A judge might award you temporary child support and/or alimony if you need immediate financial assistance from your spouse. So if that is the case, you should consult an attorney and accept the fact that you will have to appear in court.