While you may know people who have had numerous divorces, in reality, most people who go through this ordeal do it once in their lives. If you are facing a divorce for the first time, you may be unsure of what to expect and how to behave. In all likelihood, you are feeling many emotions that may change rapidly, and this is just the time when you may need to think rationally and calmly.
To you, the divorce may be all about your spouse’s misbehavior, but since Ohio is a no-fault divorce state, the court is not concerned with those details unless they affect you financially. Undoubtedly, the breakup of your marriage is painful and confusing, but the divorce itself is mostly about a fair division of your assets.
Preparing for your divorce
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your emotions, your first step may be to consult with an attorney who can keep you focused on the work ahead. Even if you and your spouse have agreed to mediate or use another alternative to a contested divorce, you may still have to defend your right to a fair and equitable share of the marital assets. There are some important steps advisors recommend you take to reduce the chances that you will be struggling financially after the divorce, for example:
- Prepare yourself for negotiation, not for a battle, which can ultimately cost you emotionally and financially.
- Begin immediately to curb your spending habits.
- Obtain hard copies of vital financial information, such as bank statements, investment reports, tax forms and any financial documents you have recently signed.
- Don’t try hiding money, but be cognizant of any efforts your spouse may make to do divert assets.
- Don’t attempt to spend down your wealth out of spite because you will ultimately hurt your own bottom line.
Essentially, this is what it’s about. While you may be justifiably concerned about your broken heart or feelings of betrayal, the divorce process is focused on equitably dividing the marital assets. Forgetting this may result in your spending years after your divorce trying to get yourself back on your feet financially.
Because emotions are often unpredictable and may cause divorcing spouses to behave uncharacteristically, having financial and legal counsel as early as possible in the divorce process can make a difference in the outcome. Whether you and your spouse opt for mediation or are heading for a contentious litigation, having a solid advocate will be to your advantage.