Courtesy of HBO
Sarah Jessica Parker’s new show “Divorce” on HBO which
aired on October 9th introduces us to Frances (Parker), a corporate headhunter with two children.
She is an unhappy, middle-aged, and a disconnected woman thinking about
pulling the plug on her marriage? Is this you?
If it is, you’re not alone. As the show will further detail many
women find themselves at a point in their marriage where they are fed
up with their spouses, feel washed up, worn out, and just depleted. This
is not living life. Breaking up a marriage, however, is no easy task.
It can be painful emotionally and financially.
The idea of divorce is daunting. Where do you start? What do you do? Where
do you go?
Whom do you trust?
As a psychologically-trained divorce attorney for over 35 years I encourage
all women who find themselves in this position to “take the first
step.” First take a deep breath, and trust yourself. Tell yourself,
it’s going to be okay. Ask yourself what you want and find the right
professionals to guide you through. I know it’s scary. But you don’t
have to do this alone. Choosing the right support system will help you
navigate successfully through your divorce.
- Choose a divorce attorney/mediator.
Talk to girlfriends, fellow professionals, research online, look at divorce
blogs, read lots of reviews, ask for referrals. Consider a divorce attorney
who is also a mediator. This way if you can approach your divorce amicably,
without having to go to court, your will have the benefits of a skilled
divorce attorney, as well as the collaborative behaviors of a mediator.
- Make a list of the questions you would like to ask your Attorney/Mediator.
The reason you go to an Attorney/Mediator is so that you are correctly
informed of all the hurdles you have to overcome in the Divorce process.
Therefore, no question is too small or trivial. It is important that you
are as well informed as you can be and asking the Attorney the questions
to which you want answers is an integral part of that process.
- Consider what you want.
People get divorced and hope to move on with their lives in as positive
a way as possible. Considering how you wish to do this is important. If,
for example, you have no desire to stay in the marital home but would
like to see your children at least twice a week, it is important that
your attorney knows this. If the attorney knows what you want from the
get-go, they’ll be able to represent you to the best of their abilities.
- Tax Returns
This is usually very standard. Lawyers will most likely request the last
3 years of Tax Returns from a client, so you should be prepared. Tax returns
are used in conjunction with pay stubs and other evidence in the calculation
of spousal and child support.
- Pay Stubs
Spousal Support and Child Support are calculated by income including what
you and your partner earn and therefore evidence of this aides the Attorney
in assessing whether you are entitled to or should be giving spousal and
child support and how much.
- Bank Statements and Credit Cards
There may be debt from the marriage and there may be substantial assets
including retirement accounts, sitting in accounts. Either way, it is
important that these are fully disclosed to your Attorney so that they
can assist you with the resolution. Reviewing bank statements and credit
card statements is very useful. I often recommend that clients summarize
these so that I am able to get an accurate overview as quickly as possible.
Any copies of deeds to property, mortgages or equity loans are something
that should eventually be brought to your attorney. Division of property
is an essential part of the process, so disclosing this at first instance
is very helpful to a Divorce Lawyer.
Benefits are often ignored but are, in my experience, a prevalent part
of any divorce settlement.
- employee benefits
- retirement plans
- life insurance
- health insurance
If you are looking for an attorney/mediator to help you navigate your divorce
so it’s not a train wreck (as seen on the HBO “Divorce”
series) call me. I can help! 212.734.1551.
Don’t be afraid to take the first step!