Deciding to divorce is one of the most difficult decisions a person can make. Plano Family Lawyer and Goranson Bain Ausley partner Hayley Collins Blair guides you through five tips on how to make the divorce process less painful.
A quote that I often share with clients going through a divorce when minor children are involved is: “You cannot grow flowers in scorched earth.” Meaning, an ugly divorce where parents attack each other makes it much more difficult for them to reach a constructive resolution, let alone establish a well-functioning co-parenting relationship.
A scorched earth type of divorce often negatively impacts both spouses and their children long after the divorce is finalized. In my family law practice, I encourage parents to focus on their most important goals and pay attention to how their emotions and behavior may affect achieving those goals. I strive to assist clients in making rational decisions for each step of the divorce process, giving careful consideration to the various options and the possible costs and benefits of each option while avoiding reactive, emotion-driven choices. I believe that this approach will best protect my clients’ children and their assets and lay the foundation for positive co-parenting post-divorce.
Below are five tips for making the divorce process less painful.
Get educated on the divorce process and life after divorce
Before filing for divorce, it is important to understand what life will look like after the divorce has finalized, both financially and also in terms of parenting time, so you can begin to prepare for possibly significant changes that will take place after the divorce has finalized.
For example, In Texas, spousal maintenance laws are more limited than in other States. A non-earning spouse may be contemplating divorce, expecting that she (or he) will receive significant spousal maintenance from the spouse after the divorce. This may or may not be the case. It is important for the non-earning spouse to meet with an experienced divorce attorney before filing for divorce, so the spouse can understand whether it is realistic to expect to receive spousal maintenance at all after the divorce and, if so, what ball-park amount is realistic.
When you have some understanding of the divorce process and what life will likely look like after divorce before you begin the divorce the process, the process may be easier to handle, as there will be less unknown and less surprise.
Meet with multiple attorneys before hiring one
The divorce process can be highly emotional, difficult, and stressful. Therefore, it is so important to have the “right” divorce attorney helping you through the process. The “right” attorney is typically an experienced attorney, and also often an attorney who is Board Certified in Family Law, as this signifies that the attorney is an expert in family law. But, beyond the qualifications individuals should look for when selecting a divorce attorney, because the divorce process is a highly personal one, individuals should meet with multiple attorneys to find one that they are comfortable with and have trust in on a person-to-person level.
Therapy is almost always a good thing
I recommend to most clients who are beginning the divorce process to meet with a therapist at least once. It will most likely be a comfort to talk with a therapist about the emotions relating to the end of the relationship. Additionally, there is a benefit to most clients to continue to work with a therapist throughout their divorce process, as often times the therapist will provide advice or assistance that makes the divorce process easier or smoother for clients emotionally, and in other ways as well.
Before filing for divorce, if possible, you should obtain copies of at least the last three years of your tax returns. Additionally, gathering other financial statements is smart as well, to the extent possible. Specifically, gathering statements that reflect balances of your bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit card statements, and documentation regarding other assets or debts. Providing documentation to an attorney shows your attorney your current financial landscape in the beginning of the divorce and will help the divorce process move forward more efficiently.
Be mindful about what you post on social media
We are living in a culture where people post online about everything. But it does not benefit individuals who are going through the divorce process to post about the divorce on social media. And, sometimes, clients that do post about their divorce on social media end up having the posts used against them during the divorce.
I strongly recommend to people going through a divorce that they do not post anything about the divorce or their feelings relating to the divorce or the breakup of the relationship on social media.
Additionally, I strongly recommend to people going through a divorce that they are generally mindful of everything that they post on social media. For example, if you are requesting primary custody of your children in the divorce, your pictures and posts online should support your request, and not be detrimental to your case.
Focus on a brighter future
For most people, divorce is one of the hardest life experiences to go through. Divorce is, after all, the uncoupling from someone who was at the center of your life, a time of transition for you and your children.
While it is true that divorce is a challenging event, most people do move through the process towards a brighter day and the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. However, the smoke from a burn-it-all-down approach only serves to keep that light from shining through. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced attorney who will stay focused on your goals and deter you from unnecessary conflict during the divorce process.
Hayley’s practice covers all facets of family law matters, with an emphasis on complex property and child custody cases. She guides her clients to reach an efficient and constructive resolution. Hayley was listed as a Best Lawyers by D Magazine in 2018, 2021, and 2022. She is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
If you have questions about divorce and would like to learn more about how to make the divorce process less painful, please get in touch with Hayley Collins Blair at 214-473-9696.
Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of family law and will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you have the information you need to make wise decisions and prepare for the future.