You two just had a fight. The first thing you should do is call a divorce lawyer!
Wrong. You should never call an attorney in your heightened emotional state. First, the consult is rarely productive when you are angry and vengeful. Productive consults should focus on education of the law and divorce options. Second, in your anger, you are extremely vulnerable to unscrupulous lawyers who may trick you into paying for expensive litigation you don’t need.
Before you call an attorney, please take some time to review this checklist of discussion points.
- Is divorce the solution to my problems?
- Does my spouse know? How will I tell him/her?
- How will I tell the children? Where will the children live?
- How do I protect myself financially?
- Do I have ready access to our financial information?
- What is the process for this divorce? Do I need a lawyer, or does my spouse and I agree to a mediator?
- I am super angry and I have a feeling it will be super-contested. Is Court the only alternative?
- Do I need a lawyer or a mediator?
- How can we divide assets when we are not talking?
- Do you have a prenup?
- How do we figure out a workable custody solution (parenting plan?)? What are the rules?
- We own our own businesses. How do we determine a value?
If divorce papers have not been filed, and/or you are still living together, in addition to scheduling a consult regarding your legal rights, we also recommend you schedule Decision Counseling with a professional. Our office works with several Mental Health Professionals who provide this service.
- What is Decision Counseling? It’s a series of counseling sessions offered by a licensed MHP which is designed to give you clarity and confidence about your decisions to either a) preserve the status quo (do nothing); b) separate and/or divorcee ; or c) commit whole-heartedly to intensive couples therapy for 6 months, with divorce completely off the table.
- Decision Counseling is time-limited process ( 5- 8 weeks max, 1 1/2 – 2 hours per week).
- The benefits of Decision Counseling are the following:
- Generate greater clarity and confidence about your decision
- Help you more clearly understand what it will take for both of you to be willing to sustain the relationship;
- Enhance your readiness for a more focused, committed, and therefor effective, couples therapy process – if that is your decision;
- Help you prepare for a more peaceful, respectful separation/divorce – if that is your decision;
- Identify personal challenges that you would want to work on to be more effective in any relationship;
- Increase your sense of personal responsibility and power for your decision, whatever that is, and decrease blaming (yourself or partner) that risks damaging any future relationship with your partner/co-parent;
- Provide comfort, clarity and closure for a partner not wanting the breakup, so you can both move forward more respectfully (if you are a co-parent, this also benefits your children.