The Big “D,” Part 2 of 2
Last week, we started a conversation about divorce and touched on a few topics like mediation, the court process, and some practical “dos and don’ts.” Attorney Paul Rice, of the Rice Law Firm, was my guest on PlanStrongerTV™ as we dove a little deeper into the subject.
What are the signs that your spouse may be contemplating divorce? There are far too many to list here! And, because of limited space, we won’t go into the role technology can play, but, suffice it to say, oftentimes clues can be found via social media. More than one spouse has stumbled upon an open laptop (or cell phone) to find messages that were not meant for their eyes. Other, less obvious, signs could be: 1. A spouse who suddenly wants to sell the family home; 2. Money that has been moved around from accounts or investments (or a previously unused line of credit that suddenly has a large balance); 3. A spouse who is spending a lot less time at home. It would be a good idea to confirm your suspicions before you confront your wife or husband. (A private investigator can be hired for this job.) When, and if, you do confront your spouse, make sure to do it in a public place, like a restaurant. Don’t put yourself in a position where you could become a victim of domestic violence. You have no idea how your spouse will react, and your personal safety must be considered. If you are past this point, then what do you do if . . .
You are “served.” The first step is research. Educate yourself on divorce. Seek out a knowledgeable, experienced, divorce attorney and make an appointment. He/she can advise you on how to respond and what to do next.
You are the one who wants the divorce. Paul recommends taking the “high road,” and I totally agree. Set the tone in a positive manner; divorce doesn’t have to be ugly. Find, and make copies of, all important papers – like bank statements, 401(k)s, and tax returns – then, put the originals back where you got them. Your lawyer will need the copies. To avoid unnecessary embarrassment, your attorney can even mail the divorce papers versus having them delivered to your spouse by a sheriff.
Divorce isn’t pleasant, but unfortunately, for many, it’s a fact of life. Do your homework, play fair, get good representation, and you can get through it.