During the first year following a divorce, a woman’s standard of living usually drops substantially, while the man’s actually increases. The responsibilities of motherhood often prevent the woman from pursuing a lucrative career. A less than favorable settlement can leave her without sufficient resources for ordinary living expenses. If support is awarded, it is usually for a brief period of time.
Through careful preparation, a woman can ease some of the financial uncertainty that accompanies divorce. There is no need for her to relinquish control of the divorce to attorneys or her soon-to-be ex.
The decision of whether or not to go through with divorce can be partially influenced by the financial findings.
If a woman seeks professional financial assistance before the divorce begins, she can avoid a desperate position. Many women typically need help in understanding the tax and financial intricacies involved in divorce. A certified financial planner who has studied divorce is an ideal resource in this situation. Find one familiar with divorce in Texas, the tax issues involved in divorce, and able to create easy-to-understand financial graphs depicting the outcome of a proposed financial settlement.
Attorneys and Mediators
Attorneys are not trained in financial matters but are trained to offer important legal advice. Some attorneys will work as a consultant by the hour, allowing the divorcing individuals to gather financial data and arrive at a settlement through a mediator. There is not a requirement for an attorney to totally handle the case. Using an attorney to handle all issues of the divorce can be very, very expensive.
Mediation is less time-consuming and much less expensive than allowing dueling attorneys to manage the case. A mediator is a totally unbiased party who guides negotiations, prevents bitter discussions and helps find a solution to the most difficult issues in settlement.
If the couple is unable to reach an agreement through mediation or attorneys working on a divorce settlement, a court battle will entail two legal teams charging several hundred dollars per hour. Opening arguments, direct examination, cross examination, expert witnesses, closing arguments, and court reporters will consume lots of time and drive the cost of the divorce up drastically. This will cost many thousands of dollars and lead to further acrimony between the divorcing individuals.
Control Your Own Divorce
Do not allow attorneys to take control of your divorce. It will be much more costly, since items that could be negotiated are sometimes contested. If you are involved in mediation, do not allow your spouse to control the negotiations. The decisions made will affect the rest of your life and should command your full attention.
Use your attorney for legal work only. Utilize the services of a financial planner for complicated financial issues. Use a counselor to work through the emotional issues.
If you are on a tight budget, hire an attorney who will allow you to make your own copies, file your own papers and handle other routine matters.
Separating Emotions from Business
Although it is understood that divorce is painful emotionally, try to separate the emotional upheaval from the business aspects. This will make it easier to make clear-headed decisions and work through negotiations. If emotions become overwhelming, call a friend or visit a counselor. A counselor can make the whole process much easier, assisting you in sorting through the emotions. Do not try to make important decisions when you are overcome with emotion.
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