7 Things to Know about the Divorce Process
All of these options will be carefully explored if you choose to divorce within the collaborative process.
It’s important to have an accurate idea of the value of your assets and debts. Gather as many recent financial account statements as possible. This includes bank statements, retirement statements, investment statements. Collect a copy of tax returns from the last 3 years. Collect recent paystubs. If you carry a balance on credit cards or loans, keep a copy of those recent statements. You need to know what you have before you can consider how assets will be divided.
Making an interim and post- divorce budget
It’s important to start thinking about what your financial needs will be during and after the divorce. Make a list of your income and expenses and be ready to discuss this issue with your attorney. There are also Certified Divorce Financial Advisors who may assist if you need help determining what you will need to meet your minimum reasonable financial needs.
Finding Adequate Legal Representation
Finding experienced and qualified legal representation is important. Even if you expect an amicable divorce, there are complex nuances with every aspect of the divorce process. Hiring a competent attorney is important to make sure your rights and your children’s rights are protected and that nothing falls through the cracks.
How to tell the Children
There are a variety of good resources that will help you and your spouse determine the best way to talk with the children. The most important thing is to reassure them that this is an adult decision and it’s not their fault. Their world will be changing but as long as you assure them you will be there for them and they will be spending quality time with each parent, the adjustment will be easier for the children. This works the best when both parents are on the same page with this message and even better when they both approach the children together with this information. A good resource may be found at here.
Where to Live
Some parties find it necessary to separate in order to have a more peaceful transition during the divorce process. This may be helpful for the children as well when the parents are not able to communicate in a friendly manner. Some couples are able to co-exist in the same home and take turns taking care of the children on a specific schedule during a divorce. Also, there is a new trend called “nesting.” Nesting is when the parents rent a secondary home or apartment and take turns moving in and out of the marital home so the children remain in the home every day.
Considerations for Parental Rights
Your parental rights will now be subject to a written court order. The order will set out what rights each parent has regarding the children. These rights include: the right to make medical, educational, psychological, legal/lawsuit decisions, the right to consent to enlistment in the armed forces and marriage and the right to receive the child’s income and child support. These rights may be exclusive, independent, joint or subject to the agreement of the other parent. You should start thinking about what rights you want and believe would be in the best interest of your children.
Considerations for Child Possession Schedule
The time the children spend with you and the other parent will be considered separately from your rights and duties as a parent. Post-divorce, both parents will be spending time with the children. It’s a matter of determining what that schedule will look like and what works best for your family. There are many options to consider, including the standard possession order which is set out by the Texas Legislature, an agreed custom schedule that works for you and the other parent, and a variety of equal time schedules. More information may be found at Child Custody/Parenting Time Issues in a Collaborative Divorce.
Calculating Child Support
Often one parent will be paying child support to the other parent. Under the traditional method, the child support is calculated by determining the payor’s net monthly income (after IRS taxes and Social Security is taken out) and then applying a standard calculation based on the number of children the payor has the legal obligation to support. See Child Support in the Collaborative Divorce Process