2015 Goals – Yes or No?

Now that the New Year adrenaline has worn off I like to take a ‘voice of reason’ approach to drastic changes, decisions and goals for the upcoming New Year with new clients, my current family law and divorce clients.

Is Divorce a Goal or Resolution?

Divorce isn’t really a resolution.  It is a major life changing decision that can be an end goal.  It is a decision that should not be made in the frenzy of the ‘New Year, New You’ stories that we all hear or even after a particularly bad holiday season either.   It should not be on a list with ‘lose weight’ and ‘get a new calendar’. It isn’t accomplished in a week or two, that you can check off on a to-do list. You should know what you are moving away from and what you are moving towards before you decide to go there.  If you are a parent, you should have a very real picture of how your children might be involved in the divorce based on the facts of your case, their ages and what you and your spouse are likely to do in the divorce – agree or disagree.

Divorce is a Decision

Divorce is a decision that should be an intentional decision, with the understanding of what divorce will really be like FOR YOU.  You should know how it will redefine your family and what happens after you choose to pursue it, how it works in your local court system and how long it might take in the real world (not a forms website).

Find out about Divorce

You need to do some work to find out this information.  Again, both on the internet and in real life.  You need to talk to good family law attorneys (I say talk to at least 3 offices to begin your search) to base your decisions on real world information for your jurisdiction.  Internet information is good – but not the best source for your case.  It is the place to get started, learn the new vocabulary, find out about areas to ask questions and be aware of in your divorce but it is just the beginning.  Make yourself a roadmap for your journey.

These are just some of the questions I answer for clients when they are considering divorce and trying to get an idea of what their immediate future might look like as well as the long term future.

  1. Do I want a divorce or do I want my marriage to change?
  2. Am I at the point where there are no other options to save my marriage?
  3. Does my husband or wife want the divorce?
  4. Have I done all that I can or do I still have options that I want to try?
  5. Do I have a plan?
  6. How does a divorce start?
  7. What will it say in the documents filed in the court?
  8. Do I have to say why I want a divorce?
  9. What if I don’t want the divorce, but my husband or wife does?
  10. How much do I know about the marital finances?
  11. What do I want to happen with parenting?
  12. What are my options for parenting?
  13. Is ‘sole custody’ really something my husband or wife can get?
  14. What happens with parents of babies and small children?
  15. Can my husband or wife keep me from seeing my kids?
  16. Can I move away with my kids?
  17. How quickly can the divorce be over?
  18. How long can the divorce take?
  19. Do I have to go to court?
  20. If we need to get into court, how long with it take to get a hearing?
  21. Do we have to have a trial?
  22. Do I have to get a job?
  23. Can I change jobs?
  24. What happens if I lose my job?
  25. Can I stay in the house?
  26. Do I have to stay in the house?
  27. Can we sell the house?
  28. Where will I live?
  29. Can I live close to my children?
  30. Can I make my husband or wife live farther away from me and the children?

So, as you can see, my experiences lead me to believe that divorce doesn’t usually start as just a goal or resolution but it starts as the answer to the questions that someone asks themselves about their marriage in the present and their life in the future.  It’s not the easy answer but sometimes it is the right answer or the only answer.  Find a good lawyer that fits you, your needs and your case.

Jill O’Connell, 940-497-5454