Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
As you contemplate divorce and get on the emotional roller coaster of deciding whether or not to end your marriage, you should first recognize that divorce doesn't just happen overnight. It builds in steps.
In the early stages, the mere notion of separation begins to develop. You may not think of getting divorced as a serious option, but you know the relationship is off. It may start after an argument surrounding one of you losing your job, or a series of disagreements relating to your parenting skills. Every relationship has its ups-and-downs, but so long as these thoughts of separation are more the exception rather than the rule, the thought of marital dissolution should be chalked up to nothing more than a bad day.
When the thought of separating from your spouse, living on your own, pondering what it would be like to sleep alone and have limited contact with your spouse becomes more real, then it is time to start educating yourself about divorce planning, hiring an attorney, the steps to the divorce process, and how issues of child support and alimony work, along with what happens to children associated with divorce.
So long as you're still in the learning stages, neither party needs to leave the home, and it may be unwise to tell your spouse or children of your thoughts too early in the process.
When your thoughts and feelings about divorce are such that you feel like your mind is playing a game of ping-pong (one day you want out, the other you want to stay), meeting with one of our Boston and North Shore divorce attorneys for a no-obligation consultation would make sense.
Whether or not you meet with an attorney this early in the process, one of the toughest parts of going through the back-and-forth in your head is not knowing much about divorce – not knowing what comes next, or who the different players would be if you end-up in a courtroom drama, or even when to expect the next stage of the process.
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When you meet with our firm, we'll help you establish a game plan. From the moment your first appointment starts, you'll be given an assignment relating to each of the following points:
- Our Massachusetts divorce attorneys will tell you how the cost and length of a divorce case is directly proportionate to the emotions of both spouses. Courts don't really care who was at fault in the breakup, but rather the judge's role is similar to that of an accountant who would oversee the division of your property and debts, tax implications of divorce, and make sure divorce will be easier on your children. Once you understand that, you're on the right track!
- Whether you hire our firm or not, you'll be told how you are well-advised to hire a divorce lawyer because do-it-yourself divorces can get you into trouble. Some of our divorce attorneys are known as aggressive litigators; others offer assistance with flat-fee divorce services for those spouses who wish to proceed on an uncontested basis. To learn more, contact our sister firm Massachusetts Flat-Fee divorce attorneys.
Once You've Decided...
- We want to make sure that you do right by your children. Clients ask us how custody is determined, and our answer is always the same: courts make their ruling based on what is in the best interest of the children. If parental fitness is a question relating to either spouse, a court-appointed investigation may be ordered and one parent may only get supervised visitation.
- You should begin a detailed outline about the history of your marriage. In order to be awarded an equitable division of your marital estate, providing your attorney with a chronology of the 21 points outlined in the Massachusetts divorce statute would make your life easy early-on. Begin your outline here.
- Identify your goals and objectives. Once you have prepared your marital history, prioritize what you want and the importance of each.
- Start the discovery process of collecting documents and information. You will avoid a lengthy court battle, and thousands of dollars in legal fees if you begin gathering tax returns, spending records, mortgage applications, business records, and all banking statements. Learn more.
Obviously, if this is the second or third time you have been through the divorce process, you should be able to draw on your past experiences from the first go around. One thing is for certain though: the level of stress, in most cases, is not nearly as great as the earlier ones were.
Clients Ask Us, "When Is it The Right Time to Thrown in the Towel and Say 'Enough is Enough?'"
We had a client who was contemplated divorce for years. She came to see us last May and finally filed. She tells us how her life has changed and how she is starting over. She and her husband sold the house, she was awarded some alimony, and she moved one town over with the children. She insists that it was the right decision. One night she finally realized that she didn't love her husband, she didn't trust him, didn't care what anyone thought, and was willing to risk it all to correct a mistake she made when she married him fifteen years earlier. There was a deciding moment – when deciding to divorce became more of a business decision than an emotional one.
Do You Suspect Your Spouse is Cheating?
Your intuition is the best indicator that something is wrong. If you suspect your spouse might be cheating on you, do some investigating by checking his or her Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or LinkedIn account. Search divorce and dating sites like AshleyMadison.com and Match.com. If you find disturbing evidence, print out the pages and present them to your spouse in your search for answers. If all else fails, call our divorce attorneys for an appointment at (800) 763-1030, or use our online form to schedule a meeting at one of our local offices.
To learn more about what to do before divorce begins, read about: