Family law cases are fact-driven. When considering issues regarding child custody, property division, alimony , etc., the Court will be looking into the precise facts of your case. Issues like the length of the marriage, age and health of the parties, each party’s vocational skills, each party’s contribution to child-rearing, etc., will be closely examined. Also note that the exact procedure followed for obtaining a divorce differs somewhat from county to county (and sometimes between different judges in the same county).
While friends and family that have gone through a divorce can lend moral support – you should not assume that your divorce will proceed in a similar manner or to a similar result.
If you are engaged in a divorce and have children… they must be your focus. Having children together is a good reason to try to fix a marriage, but not a good reason to stay in a bad one. Children should not grow up believing it’s normal to live in a home where the parents fight frequently or are simply incompatible. As the old saying goes – it is better for a child to be from a broken home than to live in one.
Divorces can be emotionally devastating. Often our identities are wrapped up in who we are with, and it can be easy to find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time wallowing in the regrets of how your marriage could or should have been. Instead, focus on your future and remember that you were someone before you were married. If needed – seek professional help. Talk to friends and co-workers. Divorce is very common and you will likely find that almost everyone has had their life touched by divorce in some way.
Even if you are the one that is seeking a divorce, understand that at times you will find yourself on an emotional roller coaster. There will be times when you question yourself and your ability to go on into a completely different situation. This is perfectly natural and it is during these times of self-reflection that you will identify the priorities that will govern your “new life”.
The financial reality is that it is more expensive to maintain two households instead of one – so a divorce is almost assuredly going to result in both of you making sacrifices in your standard of living. Because of this, minimizing the financial repercussions of a divorce is extremely important. You can minimize the expense of your divorce by remaining reasonable (and encouraging your spouse to do the same) at every stage of your divorce action. You should not use the lawsuit as a way to “punish” your spouse. Doing so will only result in a much longer and more expensive contest, and can create animosity that will create future litigation down the road. When you begin your divorce you should carefully prioritize what things are truly important to you so that you do not needlessly waste time and money. Remember, every dollar spent paying attorneys to fight is a dollar that neither of you (or your children) will see.
If you are considering divorce (or a post-divorce matter) you should immediately begin collecting any documentation relative to the issues and property at stake. For example, if a division of property is in issue, you should carefully make copies of all of the relevant records such as account numbers and balances or documents related to the purchase and valuation of the property. If child custody is in issue, you should document the time spent with the child(ren), which party provides financial support, as well as the dates and times spent taking responsibility for the children’s needs (taking them to school, the doctor, extracurricular activities, etc.). The more precise your records, the more prepared you will be if the issue goes to court. Saying, “he rarely sees the kids” is not as effective as saying “he only saw the kids on April 4th, July 8th and October 3rd”.
If you have any questions regarding any of these issues, please feel free to call me at the number listed above, send an email, or use the contact form.
The Mason Family Law Firm represents clients throughout Middle Tennessee, including Davidson County, Williamson County, Dickson County, Cheatham County, Rutherford County, Maury County, Wilson County, Sumner County, and the cities of Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Lebanon, Gallatin, Goodlettsville, Hendersonville, Mount Juliet, Smyrna, Spring Hill, Ashland City, Kingston Springs, and others at clients’ request.