When you’re getting divorced, it will definitely affect you in a lot of different ways. It will affect you emotionally, and financially, and if you have a child, it will most definitely affect you as a parent. That’s why it’s important at the outset of the divorce process to think about what expectations you have for your divorce.
The most important thing about your divorce is to think about who it will impact. This is especially true if you have kids. If you have kids, you will of course be concerned about their well-being first and foremost.. But if you have kids, you also have to think about your ongoing relationship with your child’s other parent.
Upon divorce, your ex will remain in your life as a co-parent, and your kids will continue to be central to both your life and your ex’s life.
You need to sit down with your family members and the decision makers in your household and figure out what your priorities are.
For instance, do you care about private school? Or is the public school that’s in your district always going to be fine for you? And before you can entirely cross that off the list, you need to think about the parenting schedule, how your kids will get to school, and how they’ll get home.
There’s also the matter of extracurricular activities, both now and in the future. If you have kids in high school, you only have to factor those in for a couple of years, but if you have a child in elementary school who’s got a future as an athlete, band or orchestra member, or a debater, you need to try to project into the future a bit — or be ready for the possibility of needing to modify your divorce decree down the line.
Also, do you feel really strongly about your children having worldly experiences? If you plan to travel and your kids need a passport, do you want to be the one to manage the passport or are you okay with your child’s other parent managing that? Who’s going to update it? Who’s going to store it? How will the handoff work if the parent who doesn’t keep the passport is taking the children to another country?
You also have to sit down and think about every single holiday. The parenting plan in your divorce decree will give you a default in case you need it, but you might still need to negotiate with your ex for any special cases. One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with a divorce, as a parent, is navigating those holidays that you don’t get to spend with your children — because, going forward, there will be some holidays in which that happens.
People often underestimate how much grief there is in this whole process. Therapy can be very helpful, even prior to filing for divorce, for both you and your child. Your expectations, after all, need to factor in what you and your children need emotionally as well as what you need legally.
When you first consider the idea of getting divorced, you’re beginning a long emotional process, and it’s hard to know where it will go. As your lawyer, I can help you navigate the legal world. However, I am not a therapist, and if you need some guidance, I recommend getting someone qualified to help you with the emotional side of divorce. For some people, this occurs even before finding someone to help with the legal side of the process.
When you’re ready to start the divorce process, contact the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance to set up an initial consultation. During that meeting, we will discuss your expectations for your divorce, and figure out what might be the best way to achieve those goals. It could be that collaborative law or mediation might be better than a litigated divorce — we have the experience to handle whatever route you choose for your divorce.