You know that you want a divorce: what’s next? It’s natural to feel that you have no idea what you’re in for, but there are multiple situations in the divorce process that you can anticipate and mentally prepare yourself for. Below we’ll walk you through a few circumstances that could happen and how a divorce attorney for women can help.

Ask a Divorce Attorney for Women: 6 Situations to Prepare For

1. Deciding If Collaboration Is Possible

Divorce can be a stressful process, especially if your case goes to court. Luckily, this is not your only option. In the initial stages of your divorce, it’s worth it to consider if you can avoid a prolonged divorce and instead opt for a collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorce means that you and your spouse will each have your own attorneys who you use to reach an agreement that you’re both okay with. Going through collaborative divorce often is faster and reduces conflict, therefore making it much less stressful than taking your case to court. It’s a great option if you think you and your spouse can look past your difference during the divorce process.

2. Managing an Uncooperative Spouse

That being said, you may have to deal with a spouse who isn’t making things easy for you. It’s important to remember that divorce affects everyone differently, especially if your spouse is on the receiving end of the divorce. Research shows that divorced and separated individuals have a higher risk for depression and other mental health illnesses, which then affect the immune system as a whole.

It’s natural for your partner to feel shocked at first, and they may not proceed as needed right away. When this happens, do your best to show compassion and work with a women’s divorce attorney in Westerville to communicate with them.

3. Protecting Yourself from a Hostile Spouse

In other situations, your spouse may be more than just uncooperative: they may be downright hostile. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for women suffering from abusive relationships to file a divorce and receive threats and aggressive behavior from their spouses. If this describes your situation, your lawyer can help you file a restraining order to protect yourself.

In the meantime, there are other steps you can take to ensure your safety. Change your passwords for your important accounts, change all of the locks at your house, and consider staying with family until things calm down. Do whatever you think is right for you and your family. If you’re feeling unsure, you may want to ask your lawyer for an opinion. Divorce attorneys can use their experience and resources to protect you and identify warning signs. 

4. Dividing Your Assets

No matter what the divorce process looks like, you’ll need to divide your assets. Your lawyer will handle this process, but you’ll need to provide all of the paperwork necessary for them to make the divisions.

Assets include your bank accounts,  debts, bills, retirement accounts, vehicles, and properties. It’s better to include everything, even if you don’t think it’s relevant. You’ll also want to provide your retirement plans, paychecks, and tax returns. All of this will help your lawyers and the court decide.

5. Agreeing on Parenting Responsibilities

Coming to an agreement on who will handle which parenting responsibilities can be one of the most difficult situations to handle for your divorce. In many cases, the mother will get sole custody of the children. However, that’s changing in recent years: data shows that from 1998 to 2008, the percentage of women who got sole custody dropped significantly.

You prepare for a discussion with your spouse about what parenting will look like for each of you. Your lawyer will guide you through your state’s custody process so you can start working on a plan. Your schedule should include a breakdown of day-to-day life and special occasions. If your spouse is abusive and you do not want them to have custody, your lawyer can help protect you and your children by presenting your case to a court.

6. Assigning Financial Responsibilities 

You’ll also have to decide who handles what financially: Will each parent pay for the child when they are with the child, or will one parent handle the majority of the financial expenses? You may need to pay or receive child support following the divorce, and you can get a temporary court order if your spouse is not making the necessary payments. You may also need to get a job if you are able to work.

Divorce brings many challenges, but it’s not completely unpredictable. With the help of the right lawyer, you can understand your state’s laws to get an understanding of how you will handle your case. You can also plan ahead for how you can protect yourself and your family. The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone