If you’re entering the divorce process, you need a team on your side – whether you’re filing for the divorce, or your spouse has filed against you. Having strong advocates and advisors with you each step of the way can help you get the information and advice necessary to make your divorce progress as smoothly as possible. When you’re building out your team, don’t forget the following people:
1. An experienced family law attorney
One of the first people you need to contact when you’re going through a divorce is an attorney. Your first call to an attorney will generally be to set up a consultation, where you can tell your story, ask questions in a non-judgmental and safe setting, and learn about the divorce process. Some consultations can even be completed over the phone.
Your attorney can help you connect with many of the other experts on this list – such as financial and mental health experts. However, when you’re picking an attorney, you really need to be picky. You want to make sure that your family law attorney has experience handling cases with similar needs. For example, if you’re going through a high-net-worth divorce, find an attorney with experience handling cases involving complex financial situations. If you have children, find an attorney with a strong success rate in child custody cases.
Every decision made during a divorce will have an impact, all of which your family law attorney can walk you through to make sure that your decision-making is as informed as possible. To read more about how Brown, Goldstein & Levy practices family law, click here.
2. Your bank and investment companies
After you are set up with a family law attorney, they will start to walk you through the financial aspects of a divorce. Your attorney may recommend for you to contact your bank and request that joint account(s) with your spouse be frozen, especially if you suspect your ex-spouse may withdraw funds or even empty the bank account. Sometimes, an ex-spouse may partake in excessive spending just prior to or once they are involved in a divorce. You will need to explain to the bank that you are getting a divorce and would like your joint credit card account(s) to be closed or frozen until further notice. In the case of joint bank or investment accounts, you can request for the account to be frozen until both parties authorize a withdrawal. To preserve your credibility, it is a good idea to inform your ex-spouse of the frozen accounts to avoid any surprises.
3. A financial advisor
You may already have a financial advisor that works with you, and also with your ex-spouse during the marriage. The major changes brought on by a divorce may change how you plan your finances for the short- and long-term future. If you do not have a financial advisor, your attorney may suggest that you contact a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, who will have specialized experience in working alongside attorneys at all steps of a divorce.
You may have investments, loans, and assets that you will need to budget for during your separation and after your divorce. During a divorce, your financial advisor will give you advice on the financial consequences of decisions surrounding the splitting of assets, and additional costs such as alimony and child support. A financial advisor will make sure that you plan not just for the present, but also for the future once your separation is complete. Financial planning is also essential to adjusting to your new lifestyle once the divorce is finalized.
4. Mental Health Experts
The degree to which mental health experts are involved in a divorce depends greatly on the circumstances of the separation and the individuals involved. However, mental health professionals are found in divorces of all kinds, from collaborative to high-conflict divorces. Sometimes, attorneys may bring in mental health experts to increase their ability to assist you to the highest possible degree.
A mental health professional’s services also can be helpful for children of divorce. A family therapist can help your children adjust to their new lifestyle and to accept their parents’ divorce, especially if the separation is high conflict. A family therapist can help your children adjust to the custody schedule, the stressors of the divorce process, their feelings about the divorce and receive helpful advice on navigating their post-divorce lifestyle.
5. Friends, Family, or Support Groups
Last, but not least, you may have a circle of friends, family, or trusted co-workers that can help you move forward from your divorce. Your support system could be your safe space to vent your feelings, be a shoulder for you to cry on, and can help you stay positive during the hardships of a divorce. If they are willing, your friends and family could also help with certain after-effects of a divorce, such as assisting with childcare, helping you move, and spending time with you to remind you that you are not alone. You may choose instead to work through your divorce with people who are going through one themselves. A divorce support group near you can give you healing and strategies to move on from your divorce in the best way that works for you.
Divorce can be highly overwhelming and complex. You need an experienced family law attorney who will ensure your voice is heard throughout the divorce process. Dana McKee is an award-winning family law attorney who has assisted many clients through painful divorces and bitter custody battles. She believes that her role is not only as her client’s advocate and legal counselor, but part of her client’s support system; a person who her clients can trust for honest and sound advice. If you have separated from your spouse and need a legal expert to assist you, or have another type of matter that requires a family law attorney with a proven track record dealing with difficult and complex cases, please call Dana McKee at (410) 962-1030 for a consultation today.