Tip # 1 - Marriage counseling!
Marriage counseling! -Try marriage counseling again! Spouses had a reason for walking down the aisle together. (Generally because they were happy.) Give marriage counseling one last chance before starting down the path to divorce.
Tip # 2 - Talk to an attorney first!
Talk to an attorney first! - It is very important that you talk to an attorney before doing anything else. Your lawyer will help you to assess the case and should thoroughly educate you in the area of Divorce law. It is important to have this knowledge
Tip # 3 - Talk to your spouse second!
Talk to your spouse second! - Obviously, once you have an idea of what is going to happen in your divorce, you are better able to talk with your spouse and try to work things out. We can only equate someone talking with their spouse about a divorce without knowing what the laws are and without knowing what generally will happen in their case to someone buying a car who has absolutely no idea what the car is really worth. In either case, you are in no position to negotiate a deal.
Tip # 4 - Hire an attorney with whom you are comfortable
4. Hire an attorney with whom you are comfortable - both personally and financially! - It is extremely important that you hire an attorney with whom you are comfortable. Ask your attorney about fees - not only how much he/she charges per hour but how much, generally, you should expect to spend with the attorney. Can you contact the attorney after hours? Will the attorney pledge to return your calls the same day? Does the attorney give out his home number and/or mobile number? The first attorney you contact should not be offended if you contact a second or third attorney in order to investigate that "comfort level". Look around to the extent you deem it necessary.
Tip # 5 - Explore Mediation with your Attorney! -
5. Explore Mediation with your Attorney! - Mediation is a process whereby parties use a neutral person to try to reach an agreement. It has a very high success rate and allows spouses to dictate their own agreement without having a Judge reach an agreement with which neither party may be satisfied. Discuss mediation with your attorney.
Tip # 6 - Involve a CPA!
6. Involve a CPA! - Tax consequences of your divorce can be devastating or beneficial. Ask your lawyer if they can recommend a CPA or contact a CPA of your choice to ask about the tax consequences of any property division. (This can save you a tremendous amount of money!)
Tip # 7 - Children? Help them cope with Divorce!
7. Children? Help them cope with Divorce! - Take the course "Helping Children Cope with Divorce". This course is required in Bexar County prior to the granting of a divorce and is available around the State. It helps parents understand how little comments or actions on their part can have a devastating effect on their children. It has a very high approval rating from parents taking it and I would strongly urge that you consider it. (It takes a total of about 4 hours and is inexpensive.)
Tip # 8 - Insist that your attorney pre-approve your "QDRO"!
8. Insist that your attorney pre-approve your "QDRO"! - A QDRO (a Qualified Domestic Relations Order) is required to divide retirement. By insisting that your attorney submit the QDRO to the retirement plan administrator prior to the entry of the decree, you are potentially assuring that the QDRO will not have to be revised after the divorce is over .
9. Obtain a Deed of Trust!
9. Obtain a Deed of Trust! - If needed, be sure to obtain a "Deed of Trust"! This simple document gives you a right to foreclose on the real estate should your spouse fail to continue making payments, avoiding costly litigation.
Tip # 10. Be smart - be rational!
10. Be smart - be rational! - Going through a divorce is kind of like going through a temporary state of insanity. It is only a matter of degree.