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Chandler Divorce Lawyer – Divorce, What Do You Do First?

You’ve decided to file for divorce, what do you do first?

That is such a good question. Planning is key to your divorce. Almost 100% of my clients who come in tell me that they don’t want to fight about divorce. Typically fights in divorces really revolve around the fact that both parties may not be educated about what they have together.

My suggestion and what I always tell my clients to do is to first inventory. Inventory everything.

Start with something small. So start with inventorying your household and your family possessions.

It doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list of every single kitchen utensil. But start listing the major items. You know, your dining room furniture, your kitchen appliances. How many bedrooms do we have? How much bedroom furniture do you have? That actually becomes a big issue in a divorce where there are children involved.

One family member is going to be moving out, either the husband or the wife. The other family member may be staying in that house.

The next question will be, who gets to take the kids’ furniture? Is it going to be mom or is it going to be dad? Should we split it? How much is it worth? That’s really what it comes down to. Should I have to go out and buy a new box spring and mattress for my son? Should I take the one that he has and maybe make his dad purchase it?

So, start there. Make major lists of the furniture, the artwork, the jewelry, the appliances, automobiles. Don’t forget the garage or any storage area. Take a look at the safe deposit box. What kind of valuables to you have stored?

Once they’ve got that taken care of, then start going after the assets. Make a list of the IRAs, the 401Ks, the stocks, the retirement, the pensions. How much do the two of you earn? You need to know this. Start collecting some paychecks. Start looking for some 401K statements.

Finally, think about a budget. What about a household budget? What does it cost to run this household?

Why do I point that out? Because you’re going to need to know if you intend to stay in that house, how much is it going to cost you or, if you intend to move, how much is it going to cost you to move? Where are you going to get the cash to do it? So start keeping track of the cash you spend on a daily basis so that you’ll be able to ascertain what your monthly expenses are going to be.

Knowledge of your household expenses is really beginning…really important, I should say…at the beginning of your case, especially if temporary support is an issue.

For example, say I’m divorcing my husband. He makes quite a bit more money than I do. After I sit down and do my household expenses, I realize that my income alone will not support maintaining myself and my children. I’m a very good candidate for spousal maintenance. The fact that I’ve put together an expense and a budget sheet is going to help the court in awarding me that spousal maintenance.

So it’s also important at the beginning of the case, but it’s important at the end of the case during a settlement when I need to make a realistic appraisal of my ability to afford everything after the divorce. So the key is to establish that budget and those expenses early on.

Three Things Marriage Has Taught Me

I’ve been married now for five glorious years to a dear sweet man.  He is everything that I am not!  I feel that this dichotomy has resulted in the emergence of a new person – a new me!   This is what I’ve learned so far.

#1 How to Relax My Mind

I never realized how much I worried until I married someone who doesn’t!  It’s so freeing to live this way.  My whole life has been a never ending series of obsessions.  What will I do if this or that happens?  I loved conjuring up every possible negative scenario.  I sincerely believed that this way of thinking made me better prepared for the horrors of life that I was certain were waiting for me around every corner..  Peace of mind now ensues whenever I hear my husband’s calm and loving voice say these simple little words – if it happens we’ll deal with it. 

#2 How To Enjoy This Moment

How I love to plan.  I’ve had my wedding planned since I was 14 years old  I’ve always known where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do and how I was going to get there.  I’ve carried around multiple lists illustrating the feverish activity ever present in my mind.  My dear husband lives in the now and responds with a glazed expression whenever I begin to chatter on and on about a future that may never be.  He keeps me securely grounded in the present and I’ve finally begun to experience the pleasures of the now.

#3 Cherish the Small Things

As a single girl, my romantic dreams always led me to visions of moonlit strolls in Paris and gondola rides in Venice.  In my dreams, romantic music would fill every room that my love and I entered and we’d remain in an eternal state of bliss.   The reality is that life is busy and it’s really challenging to fit such romantic scenes in real life.  But my husband in his simple way has found a way to do just that.  We may be tired and yes even a little stinky after a long day of work.  Yet at these moments, when I’m looking and feeling my worse, he chooses to put on an old song, take my hand and ask for dance.  We may be swaying in our living room but in my heart it feels like Paris dreams do come true.

My husband has inspired changes in me that I never dreamed were possible.  Change is a wonderful thing when it produces something beautiful.  I can’t wait to see what additional lessons are awaiting me. 

Has your family life taught you any lessons that you’d care to share?

Protecting Your Marriage from Intruders

If you’re married and want to stay married, you’ve got to learn how to protect your marriage from intruders. I’ve been married for roughly 13 years and I know what intruders can do to a beautiful relationship. Intruders can mess up a blissful marriage.

What are Marriage Intruders?

They are any third-party that can disturb the equilibrium, peace or intimacy between couples. Believe it or not, your children could be intruders, same as your job, parents, friends, hobbies, etc. One way my husband and I have secured ourselves from intruders is to draw the lines. Understanding each other has also helped us greatly.

When I say draw the lines, I mean we differentiate between our time together as a couple and our time with the kids. We also differentiate between our time for work and time for pleasure. We believe in focusing on our individual jobs while at work but once work time is over, we face the home. As much as possible, we try not to take work home from the office, but in some instances, especially on my part, we break the rule but I try to make up for it in a way I know my husband would appreciate (that is why I earlier said a bit of understanding one another has helped us).

Five Things I Learned Through Divorce

I’ve been divorced 10 years now, and even though my ex and I parted amicably, ending my marriage was emotionally the most painful experience I ever went through. Separation from the kids, isolation from friends and neighbors, having to build a home environment by myself, living in suburbia as a single man – all had their challenges and brought frustrations.

Yet, there was a bright side to my divorce, beyond easing whatever problems existed in the marriage. Once divorced and on my own, I learned how to love myself and find happiness even when things didn’t go smoothly. Granted, many people learn those lessons in the context of a healthy marriage. But we each go through life in different ways.

Here are five things I learned after my marriage ended.

• Acceptance – before my divorce, I was part of a martial team that wouldn’t take no for an answer. If there was something my wife and I wanted – a new car, a house in a good neighborhood, a fantastic vacation – we found a way. Since my divorce, having to provide for myself and kids with no one to lean on for emotional or financial support, I’ve learned that the status quo is often enough. We already have exactly what we need. Life isn’t about acquiring experiences or accumulating material things. It’s about the time we share with our loved ones.

• Patience – when you’re married with kids, there can be give and take when things need to get done. Have to work late one night? No problem if your spouse can take care of the kids. As a single parent, it’s entirely different. You are the sole caretaker when it’s your custody turn. If the kids get sick, or that vacation you’re planning has to be delayed a year while you save up, it’s so much more pleasant if you can be patient and go with the flow. Things seem to work out just fine in the end.

• Humility – back when I was married, things went more smoothly when my wife and I collaborated on decisions and events. Whether it was planning a trip or a backyard barbeque, our combined efforts usually resulted in something we liked. After divorce, when it’s just me cooking dinner or picking the right hotel, chances are I might get it wrong. Admitting I screwed something up, and being okay with that, has led to a lot less stress. And displaying humility to my kids has helped make them nicer people. (How’s that for being humble!)

Continued on the next page

Reasons to reconsider getting a divorce

Getting a divorce is a serious decision, and one that should never be entered into with haste. In the midst of the emotional whirlwind that seems to permeate every aspect of your days, it’s important to be as certain as you can that divorce is truly the right answer; because often times it’s not.

Here are four reasons to reconsider getting a divorce that may help you to decide once and for all if divorce is the answer.

Your children

Many people stay for the sake of the children while they fail to realize that a divorce would actually be beneficial for the children. This is especially true in marriages where there is physical or mental abuse.

“Children would rather be from a broken home, than to live in one.” This comment, by television personality, and psychologist, Dr. Phil McGraw, hits it right on the nail head. But, what if there is no physical or mental abuse in your marriage?

What if the issues you and your spouse are facing have nothing to do with abuse? What if the rough waters are due to a difference of opinion on life’s goals, or finances or your sex life? Why deprive your children the opportunity to have both of you living with them as they grow up because of a difference of opinion between you and your spouse?

If your disagreements don’t spill over, and gravely impact the lives of your children, you may want to reconsider getting a divorce.

Financial standing

It may sound heartless and uncaring, but you may reconsider getting a divorce based on what your financial standing will be once the divorce becomes final. Will you be able to make it on your own? Will your financial profile be negatively impacted so much that you won’t be able to recover from it? Many people marry for money; so why not reconsider getting a divorce because of money?

Midlife crisis

Not everyone suffers the dreaded midlife crisis, but many people do; both male and female. Realizing you’ve reached middle age can really send you into a tailspin, and cause you to make poor decisions with your life.

In many instances, this simply means running out and making a large purchase or sinking all your money into one investment as a means of making yourself feel as if you have control of your own destiny. It also gives you the opportunity to ignore the fact that middle age has caught up to you. Some people have been known to make drastic and detrimental decisions based on their fear of middle age; divorce being one of them.

If you’re experiencing a midlife crisis, and divorce is in the air, this may be one of the best reasons to reconsider getting a divorce. Talk with a family member or friend, consult your minister or seek some counseling to be sure that your desire to get a divorce isn’t a reaction to a midlife crisis.

Are you being honest with yourself?

Do you want a divorce because you’ve fallen out of love with your spouse? Is there another person involved? Can you walk away knowing it’s the only answer?

Bottom line, be sure that no matter what your reason(s) are for wanting a divorce, that they are legitimate. When you make a decision based on anything other than the truth, the chances of that decision turning out to be the right one are slim to none.

Divorce is a serious matter. So is infidelity, abuse, and your happiness. These reasons to reconsider getting a divorce may help shed some light on such a life-altering decision.