If you have recently decided that you are getting divorced, you are likely feeling overwhelmed by the process ahead of you. It can feel like you need to choose a divorce lawyer right away, especially if your ex-spouse is already represented. However, at The Law Offices of Michael L. Maguire & Associates in Beverly Hills, California we encourage people facing a divorce to ensure they are taking the right amount of time to make the best choices. The decisions you make right in the beginning of your divorce process can have a powerful and lasting effect; make sure you’re understanding the repercussions of your decisions and not rushing into anything. Here are six tips that can be helpful for someone who is just beginning the divorce process:
1. This isn’t going to happen overnight – Take Your time
Understanding that a divorce takes time will help you manage your way through the process, but also keep a reasonable expectation. Divorce is certainly more of a marathon than a sprint and you need to pace yourself emotionally, physically, mentally and financially. Do not rush into any decisions; including the selection of a family lawyer. You’re going to be working with your divorce lawyer for quite some time, and the lawyer you choose makes difference. Spending some money to arrange a few consultations is a great investment towards ensuring that you hire the best lawyer for your situation.
2. Expect Ups and Downs. Take Care of Yourself
It’s very normal to go through physical changes during your divorce; gaining weight, losing weight, and feeling anxious are all very normal. Even if you are “happy you’re getting divorced” it’s still one of the biggest changes a person can go through; self-care is incredibly important. Make sure you’re eating healthy and not over-doing it with alcohol. Seeing a therapist is helpful to work through some of the emotional baggage that can come with divorce. Be careful not to bury yourself in work or other distractions. Keeping a journal to track your progress and how you feel may be helpful. Everyone is different, so different things will work for different people, but the one thing that everyone who is going through a divorce has is common is that they need to monitor their emotions and well-being throughout the process.
3. Remaining civil is beneficial to you, even if your ex is terrible
I get it; you’re getting divorced for a reason… it’s very normal, and you very likely have, some negative feelings towards your ex. However, a part of getting through a divorce is being able to let go of those negative feelings and focus on your new life. Getting angry, upset, vindictive, jealous, etc. may seem like the natural thing to do in the moment but it only makes the emotional toll of divorce greater. Focusing on the issues and working through towards the resolution is the only effort that deserves your energy.
4. Being the favorite parent is not going to benefit your kids
Minor children may express a want to be with one parent instead of the other. If you are the “favorite” parent it may feel like a win, but the reality is it’s a sign that your children are struggling with how to navigate the emotional process of their parents getting divorced. Do not let your children hear you bad-mouth the other parent. Do not engage in conversations you would not want your ex-spouse having with your children. There are several books and other online resources that can help offer suggestions about how to talk to kids about divorce; for a few suggestions, see this article.
5. Child Support and Parenting Time are two different things
It’s normal for divorcing couples to assume that child support paid from one parent can determine, or cancel, or delay parenting time. The fact is, child support and parenting time or child custody are two very different things. Do not deny your ex-spouse’s right to access to their children based on what they have or have not paid in child support. If you are in a difficult situation we may be able to help you make a motion for temporary support but modifying or refusing to comply with a parenting plan, especially a court-issued parenting plan is a big mistake.
6. Have a budget and a plan
When you talk to a divorce lawyer in an initial consultation, they should be able to provide you with both a plan of how they will navigate your unique situation through the complex California divorce process, as well as an idea of how much it will cost to do so. No lawyer is going to give you an exact price, there are many variables in a divorce and they are by nature unpredictable. However, your lawyer should be able to clearly lay out how much they charge per hour, how many hours they believe your case will take, and how much money they need in advance to get started. Your divorce lawyer should also be able to provide you a general road map of the issues that need to be resolved in your divorce and how they intend to do so. Be wary of any divorce lawyer who makes guarantees about how much a divorce will cost, exactly what your custody situation will be, or any other detail. Divorce is a process of discovery, negotiation and making a detailed plan based on the unique situation of the people getting divorced and their children. A lawyer who over-promises may sound great before you sign up, but it’s a recipe for disaster when the realities of divorce set in.
Do you have questions about getting started with a divorce? Are you interviewing divorce lawyers in the Los Angeles or greater California area? The experienced, effective family law and divorce attorneys at are ready to help you develop a plan and work through the divorce process to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.