June 15, 2017
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Smart people prepare for all kinds of life events – those likely to occur and those not so likely. Why do we wear seatbelts? Divorce can impact your finances and your family forever. If you are considering divorce or you think divorce might be possible in your future, save this post. It will help you to prepare for divorce.
Here are three steps you should take.
- Educate yourself about divorce.
There’s a lot to know: different ways to divorce; choosing a lawyer; divorce procedure; and, of course, “the law” itself. Don’t be intimidated, the resources you need are readily available. The Connecticut Judicial Department website at www.jud.ct.gov contains good basic nuts and bolts information. My own website at www.lcappalli-familylaw.com supplements that with a broader perspective designed to get you thinking about your long-term future rather than just which form to file.
Reading about divorce is valuable, but it isn’t a substitute for what you will learn from an initial face to face consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer. This is where you can get advice about your own unique situation to help you plan. The discussions will be private and confidential. Just because you have that initial consultation doesn’t mean you have to get a divorce or have to hire that attorney. Many people consult with a divorce lawyer and don’t get divorced. Some lawyers charge a consultation fee and some don’t. I charge a fee for an initial consultation because of the value I provide. I know that the initial consultation is probably one of the most anxiety producing but important meetings in my client’s life. I prepare for that meeting and work to make it an educational and supportive experience focused on the client’s individual situation.
- Educate yourself about your family finances.
Even if you handle the family checkbook and pay the bills, the odds are that you don’t have the complete picture of the family’s, income, expenses, debts and assets. You and your lawyer will need all the financial facts in order to achieve a smart financial outcome for you. Plus, to protect yourself against the potential of misrepresentation, even and innocent one, by your spouse, it is never too soon to start financial fact gathering.
Where to start? One option is to download the State of Connecticut long form financial affidavit form at www.jud.ct.gov/JD-FM-006-Long. Prepare a preliminary draft form reflecting your finances and another for your spouse. Keep copies of all the statements and other documents you refer to. Your lawyer may have her own method of financial fact gathering as well. For example, I’ve developed a worksheet and checklist which coordinate with the divorce financial software used by our judges. I’ll also sometimes recommend that a client consult with a divorce financial professional and connect the client with the right professional.
- Take care of yourself.
Divorce, needless to say, is emotionally, mentally, and physically draining. That can impair your ability to make good decisions. You want to be at your best. Make sure that you have attended to you medical needs – checkups, preventive procedures, and tests. Sad to say, but a vengeful spouse might try to change insurance coverages to limit the other spouse’s access to healthcare, in an attempt to gain an advantage in the divorce case. Exercise, eat healthier, and be in good physical condition.
Don’t ignore your mental and emotional well-being. Do whatever it is that keeps you mentally and emotionally strong. You might consider working with a counselor to help you sort out and deal with the emotional dimensions of your situation. The law doesn’t penalize you for having that kind of emotional and mental support.
One hopes never to be in a divorce situation. But just like wearing that seatbelt to prepare for the accident that may never happen, if the possibility is out there, it’s smart to do what you can to be prepared.
Thanks to RJ Media Group for publishing a version of this post in the June Cheshire Citizen and Plainville Citizen newspapers.« Back to all news