In life, it is often easier to learn from other people's challenges and tribulations than your own. Divorce is certainly an instance in which this is true. Going through a divorce is never easy, and there are so many aspects to consider, from dividing your assets to moving residences. When you're all done, you'll feel like an expert in the divorce process... but why wait for that expertise? Here are three things people often realize during the divorce process and wish they knew beforehand:
Your lawyer can make or break the process.
If you are pursuing a divorce, make sure you hire a lawyer who specializes in family law. Someone in general practice, even if they are not a family friend, is not likely to know the ins and outs of divorce law as well as a specialized divorce attorney. And look for someone with a good track record; you'll stand a better chance at getting what you deserve in the settlement. Meet with several qualified family lawyers and choose the one whose personality you find most pleasant. The better you and your divorce lawyer get along, the faster you'll be able to get things done.
Don't take your spouse's word for granted.
Once you and your spouse have agreed to divorce, you should stop assuming anything they say is the truth. You can never be sure whether they are actually being honest with you or are protecting their assets. If they tell you they only have the one bank account, for instance, you should still do your due diligence to see if there are others. You would not be the first person who took their spouse's word for granted, only to be swindled out of thousands you deserved.
Move out... sooner rather than later.
Maintaining two households is expensive, so some couples choose to continue cohabitating until the divorce is final. However, this is a bad choice for several reasons. Every time you come home and see your spouse, you are forced to think about the divorce, which can set your emotions into high gear. You're delaying the emotional recovery process by continuing to live with them. Plus, when you continue to live together, you have to continue to share finances to some degree. Moving out will help jump-start your financial independence, which is essential as you move forward from a divorce.
Get the best lawyer you can afford, take anything you spouse says with a grain of salt, and move out ASAP. Your divorce will go a lot more smoothly as a result.