Getting Divorced

Getting Divorced: 7 Things You Need to Know

Have You Considered Reconciliation?

Many people experiencing difficulty in the marriage jump to the conclusion that divorce is the answer. As a divorce attorney I am here to tell you that getting divorced isn’t always the best answer.

For the vast majority of people, divorce means that their wealth is at best reduced by 50% following a divorce and their children will be bouncing from one house to the next.

Your children will be subjected to immediate changes including the reduced ability to spend money on their needs including activities, education and vacations.

Additionally, people think that divorce automatically means a clean break from their current spouse. This actually is far from true as people with children will continue to need to coordinate the major decisions and activities regarding their children which translates to continued and sometimes uncomfortable communications between former spouses.

One of the number one problems that children experience while their parents are getting a divorce or after a divorce is the continued bickering and fighting that the experience between their parents after the divorce takes place.

In summary, if there is a chance to reconcile and it could lead to a healthy and happy marriage, couples have a huge interest in making the effort, if not for them, for their children. One of the questions I will ask many people during the initial consultation is whether they would consider attending marriage and family counseling to first see if their marriage could be salvaged.

Why Should You Get Divorced?

Considering all the negative that a divorce could and many times lead to,  there are still many reasons for getting divorced.

There are times when a person is faced with weighing the financial devastation created by their spouse with the financial challenges and uncertainty following a divorce. After analyzing this, if there is a clear and marked benefit gained from divorcing the financially irresponsible spouse after counseling has been considered and attempted, then divorce may be the answer.

Another reason for divorce is the existence of abuse. Domestic violence is abuse and should not be tolerated. Though there are many issues that counseling and therapy can help with, there are also times when someone doesn’t want to change or is incapable of changing. There is never a reason to submit to domestic violence and a parent should never allow their children to be exposed to and or be a victim of domestic violence and abuse.

Though I am a firm believer in counseling and therapy I can’t always say it is right for everyone. Happiness is something that everyone should be entitled to. Making your own destiny is part of who we are. If your marriage deprives you of happiness divorce is an option. Though I usually reserve the simple quest for happiness for people without children, it is also important to consider that your children may thrive better if both of their parents are happy.

Deprivation of a healthy sexual relationship. Unfortunately many marriage are void of a healthy physical and intimate relationship. This can be debilitating and leads to depression, lack of confidence, resentment and a cold relationship that is unhealthy for children to learn from.

I believe that sexual and intimacy problems should be brought to a therapist that specializes in such problems prior to a spouse initializing divorce proceedings. Intimacy problems are serious. There are times that the cold touch of a spouse is the result of a much deeper issues which again is yet another reason why a therapist could be helpful.

Couples should be warned though, intimacy problems left unresolved manifest and fester. A spouse that doesn’t want to be intimate regularly or consistently is depriving the other of happiness and it is a mean and selfish way to act.

There are so many reasons why intimacy is considered to be a healthy way to achieve happiness in a relationship and within the context of marriage. Couples owe it to themselves and their spouse to explore intimacy as much a possible.

For more information on Marriage and Family Counseling, click on the following link:  Rachel Moskowitz  or Linda Peterman.

Should You Hire an Attorney?

Not necessarily! However there are so many pitfalls that a couple can fall into without having professional and experienced advice. My advice is to seek the assistance of a marital and family law attorney.

Get the best counsel you can. Finding and understanding the law is a daunting process that can be helped with the assistance of good counsel. Above and beyond the law is the advice and counseling a party should seek that can help them to make practical decisions especially when children are involved.

Every family is different which makes every case different. What to do in each situation is something that is impossible to get out of  a statute or law book. It is only with the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney that you will benefit from the full picture and a more holistic experience.

Lastly, getting divorced is not an easy task and it is a process filed with unpredictable variables. It is important to understand that you can be at a disadvantage without the assistance of counsel. Little things like misunderstood deadlines can have devastating consequences and it is important to have an attorney who is knowledgable to help you navigate the process.

For further reading on the subject getting divorced, one can consult the Florida Statutes, ch 61 by clicking on the following link.

What to Consider in Hiring an Attorney

Interestingly enough, this is not a question I frequently get in my office. However it is something that I understand as I have seen many disasters in dealing with opposing counsels.

  1. Your marital and family law attorney should have experience and should practice in family law.
  2. The attorney should show interest in your individual situation and suggest practical ways to address the problems that you are facing.
  3. You should be weary of an office or an attorney that makes promises to you related to outcome. If anyone promises you an outcome it is best to immediately leave their office as no outcome can ever be guaranteed. Outcomes are the result of so many variables that it is impossible to tell anyone exactly what they should expect.
  4. Does your attorney understand the concept of problem solving or are they just interested in litigating the issues that you bring to them. Remember, litigation is expensive and many issues can be dealt with by simply having your attorney pick up the phone or write a letter. If your attorney seems to pave a path towards litigation as the only option, this is an indication that your attorney has no interest in assisting you solve your problems and only wishes to make the large sum of money that the litigation experience will require.
  5. What are your specific needs. Not all family law attorney’s have experience with every issue and some are more experienced with certain issues than others. for example, Some attorney’s have a great knowledge with asset and liability distribution or equitable distribution while others have more knowledge with child related issues.

What Options Are Available To You?

Asking your attorney what options you have is important when you are thinking about getting divorced. I don’t know how many times a person comes to me after they let their attorney go and complain that their attorney never gave them options. Many options exist for people to consider including collaborative divorce, cooperative divorce, mediation, pre-suit mediation, pro-se mediation or mediation without attorneys, parenting coordination and litigation. It has become the newer thought and the more progressive thought that litigation should be considered as a last resort.

Why Collaborative is Better?

Collaborative Law is better in almost every case. It is the most problem solving divorce experience you can choose with a binding agreement that you will never litigate your case. Staying out of court is best in almost every scenario even in difficult cases involving domestic violence.

The foundation of the Collaborative Process is the requirement that each party retain independent legal counsel and that the parties enter into a participation agreement.

A collaborative participation agreement is a binding agreement that says neither party shall litigate any part of their case in court and that if either or both parties fail to abide and decide to litigate, both of their attorneys are required to withdraw off of their case. This is great incentive to keep people negotiating outside of court. Who would want to loose their attorney and their investment?

The Collaborative Process is a non court process that has been developed to assist people to solve their problems in the most sensible and practical manner possible.

The Collaborative Process may also  include additional team members for the purpose of neutrally assisting the parties with the development of options. Frequently we see a neutral financial professional and a neutral facilitator.

The inclusion of the financial professional is designed to efficiently assist the parties with the neutral development of financial settlement options. The inclusion of the neutral facilitator is to assist the parties and the attorneys to stay on track with the process in the most collaborative and problem solving/non adversarial manner.

For more information on Collaborative Divorce see the following two links:


Life After Getting Divorced

Life after getting divorced is not always good. It sometimes leads to depression and can include situations of financial hardship and even continued conflict with the former spouse.

Children are sometimes left exposed to many of the difficult issues including things such as the parties speaking bad about each other and alienating the children from the former spouse.

There are many reasons to seek the assistance of counsel who has experience in the areas that you need assistance with. There are many reasons to opt for a collaborative process. There are instances however when even the best set of circumstances leads to future issues that need to be dealt with.

Life after divorce sometimes requires seeking modification of child support or alimony. Again there are options to deal with each of these issues.

Sometimes people experience continued conflict after their divorce related to the coordination of their children. Additional options to deal with this includes the appointment of a parenting coordinator.

Just as many options are available for people facing divorce, the same is true of people who are facing options after divorce. It is always advisable to ask your attorney what options do I have.

Lastly, life after divorce should be an improvement. Understanding in what ways you wish your life to be improved is essential to understanding how to divorce and the development of settlement options before your divorce is finalized.

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