Divorce proceedings tend to be less dramatic in real life than they are on television. Most can be settled amicably and out of court.
That being said, there are certainly real-life cases of divorces that can take years of fighting over property or custody. These two types of divorce – the amicable ones and the battles – are called uncontested and contested divorces.
If the couple has a prenuptial agreement or mutual views about how to handle property distribution and other arrangements, proceedings can actually go quite smoothly. These types of divorce proceedings are called “uncontested divorces.” Neither spouse makes a fuss, and the entire process can be completed in 90 days.
However, not all divorces are settled with both couples agreeing on who gets what (or who gets to care for their children). In cases where couples contest (disagree) with one or more arrangements of the divorce, they will have to go through a contested divorce.
How Does a Florida Contested Divorce Work?
To start the divorce proceedings, one party will have to file the petition of divorce and serve it to the other party, who will need to respond. In Florida, after the petition is filed, a judge will review the petition and decide if they want to move forward with the divorce or throw out the petition. At this stage, the judge may recommend counseling.
Once the judge approves the petition, each spouse will have to collect information about their finances and witnesses to present at the trial. This is called the “discovery phase.” During this phase, spouses can also try to come to an agreement on certain aspects of the divorce (time sharing, alimony, etc.).
If you can agree on these issues before you go to trial, you may be able to settle out of court. This discovery period, along with pre-trial hearings, can go on for months if spouses still can’t come to an agreement.
If spouses cannot ultimately come to a settlement, they will have to go to trial to determine the outcome of their divorce. Florida aims to fairly – not equally – distribute property between spouses.
This is why gathering financial information (including income, assets, etc.) is so important. Each spouse’s role in caring for children and the house, and what efforts they made to further their career (education, job training, etc.) will also be considered.
Similar to equitable distribution of property, Florida aims to fairly give each parent custody of their children. Joint custody is typically awarded unless one parent has been abusive or violent toward the children or other spouse.
Floridians Should Always Strive for an Uncontested Divorce
If you are close to coming to an agreement with your spouse, you may want to spend the extra time working toward an uncontested divorce. The entire process gives you and your spouse more control over the outcome and timing of your divorce, and you will finalize everything faster than with a contested divorce. More time in the courtroom and negotiating with attorneys can also mean more bills to pay after the divorce is finalized.
That’s not to say that contested divorces can’t end with a positive outcome, but you will need to fight hard for the property and arrangements that you deserve – and you’ll absolutely want a good family lawyer on your side.
Want to make sure your divorce ends with a fair ruling and is completed in a timely manner? Talk to a Florida family lawyer today for more information on contested divorces and your next steps.
If you don’t pay the alimony you are legally required to pay, stiff consequences await you under Florida law. Below, we’re going to discuss these consequences and let you know how to get help.
Alimony Law in Florida
A judge may require that alimony be paid to one of the spouses after divorce. This alimony payment is based on the circumstances surrounding the divorce, including the following:
Whether adultery occurred
Standard of living
Length of marriage
Age of receiving spouse
Physical and/or emotional condition of receiving spouse
Assets of both spouses
Earning ability of both spouses
Other factors affecting fairness to both spouses
Alimony can be set up in different ways under Florida law:
This type of alimony helps the receiving spouse for up to two years of transition time. As with all alimony cases, it is not binding if either spouse remarries or dies.
If the receiving spouse needs redevelopment of workforce skills, or new training to be eligible for employment, this type of alimony can apply. It is formed according to a specific plan, and it ends when the plan is completed.
With this type of alimony, payments are made for a certain time period determined by the judge. The length of durational alimony cannot be longer than the length of the marriage.
If the receiving spouse is unable to meet his or her financial needs after divorce, the alimony agreement may be permanent. This is more likely to be true after marriages of long duration than short-term marriages.
Consequences of Failing to Pay Alimony
You could face several serious consequences like these for failure to pay court-ordered alimony.
Contempt of court
The judge may find you in contempt of court, which could result in a fine, a brief stay in jail, or both. You may also be ordered to stay in jail until you pay what you owe.
The judge can order that a portion of your wages is automatically reserved for alimony payments before you receive your portion.
Any of your valuable assets could be seized by the courts if you fail to pay. These include bank balances, dividends, rental income, royalties, or physical property.
The court can place a lien on your property, which will prohibit the finality of its sale until your alimony is paid.
Tax refund designation
The court has the right to demand that your income tax refund be used for unpaid alimony.
Judgment and Interest
If you owe a large amount of unpaid alimony, your former spouse can file for a judgment against you. If the judge decides to award your former spouse, you will be responsible for the full amount plus interest, in addition to your former spouse’s legal fees.
If You Can’t Pay Alimony in Florida
If you’re having a hard time making regular alimony payments, you have several options to consider. An experienced Florida family law attorney can help you make changes to your alimony agreement.
Whether you have lost your job, experienced a pay cut or suffered from medical problems, you may have a legitimate reason to get your payments reduced, suspended, or eliminated.
Need legal help for making changes to your alimony agreement? Call for a free consultation today with a trusted Florida family law attorney.
Opinions are mixed on whether it’s best to move out or stay put when you are divorcing in Florida. In this post, we’ll show you the pros and cons and tell you how a qualified attorney can help you make the right decision.
A home is normally a couple’s most valuable asset. Deciding which spouse should stay and which one should leave during divorce can be a tricky ordeal. Here are several thoughts to consider on either side of the argument.
Reasons to Move Out When Divorcing
If you decide to leave, here are a few reasons that may be a good idea.
Safety from Abuse
If you are divorcing due to domestic violence, leaving is a must for your safety and the safety of your children. You also may need to file a protective order against your spouse for further protection. If you are taking your children with you, you’ll need a temporary custody court order to avoid being accused of kidnapping.
Reduction of Conflict
If your relationship has a high level of conflict, moving out can provide relief and clarity. This decision may be best for your children if they are regularly exposed to negative behaviors.
Reasons to Stay Put When Divorcing
Of course, you aren’t required to leave your house unless a judge forces you to do so. These may be some of the benefits of staying.
Divorce is hard on everyone, especially children. Staying put can help you retain a greater sense of normalcy during divorce. Moreover, leaving can work against you in a child custody case. However, if you are the spouse who stays, your spouse may argue that he or she is being punished for leaving – even if their leaving reduced the conflict in the home.
Some couples have even developed creative options for the sake of the children, such as bird-nesting. Utilizing this method, spouses alternate living periods in the home so that the kids never have to move around and get to retain some sense of normalcy.
As you can see, it’s complicated. A skilled Florida family law attorney can help you draw up a parenting agreement that establishes a schedule of visitation and eases this issue for both sides. Speak with a lawyer to know what is best in your situation.
Divorce can be expensive, and not every couple can afford to financially support two households.
The spouse who earns more will be ordered by the court to continue paying the majority of household expenses. This means that if the higher earning spouse moves out, her or she may be forced to find a less satisfactory living situation.
If you are the spouse who decides to stay in the home, you may need to give up other assets in the divorce to be able to keep the house. However, there’s no guarantee that either spouse will be able to keep the house once the court divides all property. Florida courts divide property as equally as possible, and depending on your overall financial picture, keeping the house may not be equitable.
Again, it’s important to consult with a divorce attorney who can advise you on what to expect. You may be able to divide a large home into separate living areas so both spouses have private space. Some couples use a schedule for common areas like the kitchen and living room.
Want help navigating these complicated issues? Call today for a free initial consultation, and we’ll help you make the best possible decision for everyone involved.
Divorce is often painted as a negative or even traumatic event. However, while it is typically the result of a “failed” marriage or negative situation, it is not uncommon for divorcees to find that they actually benefit from their new status.
After the initial heartbreak has worn off and they are able to move on, many people find that they have more freedom and lower costs after their divorce. If you are considering getting divorced, stop focusing on the negative and recognize those things you have to look forward to.
In this post, we’re going to detail some of the benefits that come with leaving an unhappy marriage.
Basically, Medicaid doesn’t cover nursing home costs until a couple’s assets have been used up. So it’s not unheard of for older couples to get divorced and for one spouse to give everything up to the healthier spouse. This way, the spouse entering the nursing home can use their Medicaid benefits to pay for care without using up everything else that they have first.
More Benefits and Fewer Fees
A look at census data over the past few decades show that divorced women who never remarry fare better financially around the age of retirement. Why?
Because after divorce, women tend to go back to work. When they do, they are eventually able to secure higher-paying jobs than they had during or before their marriage. Partially because of this, they were also found to take more time to withdraw Social Security benefits.
Your marital status can also have a big impact on the amount you have to pay for insurance and the amount you receive from federal funding. Not all insurance coverage is going to be cheaper for single people, but you may find yourself paying less after divorce.
Additionally, you may be able to get some of your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits, provided you were married for at least 10 years and do not remarry. If you meet these conditions, your ex will still get 100% of their benefits… and you can get 50%.
Moreover, if you do need to dip into your retirement fund early, your divorced status limits the fees that you would normally face. Having early access to a higher cash flow can take away a lot of financial stress later in life.
Financial Aid for Higher Education
Financial independence after a divorce can even extend to your children. For example, if your kids are filling out a FAFSA for college financial aid, they may benefit from your divorced status. How so?
Because while child support and alimony information about the non-custodial parent is required on the form, their income isn’t. In other words, relying only on one parent’s income may help them qualify for a higher rate of financial aid, thus making college more affordable.
More Freedom… Financial and Otherwise
Studies don’t need to prove that being divorced gives you more freedom.
You will be less obligated to attend to the needs of your former partner. If you get joint custody of your children – something that the State of Florida prioritizes over sole custody – you will have more time living alone with less responsibility over them as well.
Additionally, divorce gives you more time to reconnect with friends, try new things, and learn about yourself. Since you’ll have independence over your finances, you will be able to make more appropriate decisions for funding your life.
Bottom line? Even if the divorce involves some heartbreak or stress, you will come out of the divorce a stronger, smarter, freer person.
A Better Chance at a Successful Marriage
If your current marriage isn’t working out, you gain experience and knowledge that can help you in your next relationship or marriage. A study from the Marriage Foundation revealed that while 45% of first marriages end in divorce, only 31% of second marriages end in divorce.
Researchers credit age, experience, and higher incomes as factors that make second marriages more successful.
Getting Divorced? Call a Florida Lawyer
Divorce settlements can have a significant impact on the benefits you can earn after a divorce. An ugly settlement can leave you in arguments and financial troubles for a longer period of time.
In order to get the arrangement and finances that you deserve after a divorce, reach out to a skilled Florida family lawyer today.
After you get divorced, how is joint debt handled? In this post, we’ll discuss who pays for what and how it is decided.
How Post-Divorce Debt Is Handled
Any debt created by one or both spouses during the marriage is considered community debt. Both spouses are generally required to pay back community debt.
The court decides which spouse is responsible for which community debts, and issues orders to do so. The court’s order only affects the spouses, however, not the creditors.
Creditors can set different demands, which may involve requiring one spouse to pay if the other spouse fails to pay. The divorce court has no jurisdiction over the creditors, who are not parties in the divorce decree.
In other words, a creditor can ask one or both spouses to pay the outstanding debt after a divorce, even if the court order says something different.
How does this work in practice?
Let’s imagine a woman is ordered to pay the bill for a retail store credit card after a divorce. However, when she refuses to pay the bill, the retail store demands payment from her ex-husband.
If the ex-husband pays the retail store bill, he can return to divorce court and ask for reimbursement. He may also ask that his ex-wife’s wages be garnished to pay him back for the debt in a judgment against her.
What if the ex-wife declares bankruptcy on the community debt? Unfortunately, the ex-husband has little recourse except to declare bankruptcy himself.
Common Misconceptions about Community Debt
Names can’t just be removed. Spouses do not have the right to legally remove one another’s names from a binding agreement with a creditor. The divorce court cannot issue this order, nor can the divorcing couple decide it in their divorce case. Each spouse has an individual obligation to repay the debt, whether it is for the mortgage, vehicles, credit cards, or other lines of credit.
Offering to pay “your” debts doesn’t absolve you of others. If you run a newspaper ad that states you will only be responsible for your own debts, it does not absolve you from the obligation of paying the community debts incurred during your marriage. As stated above, community debts are the responsibilities of both spouses in the eyes of the creditors, and that does not change even when divorce occurs.
Tort obligations are community debts, too. If your spouse was responsible for an accident in which someone else was hurt, that means they have a tort obligation to them as a creditor. However, the debt to them is considered community debt, so both spouses could be held responsible to pay for the tort obligation.
Separate property starts with pre-marriage property. If one spouse had separate property prior to the marriage that the other spouse never managed or handled, that property will not be handled in the divorce settlement. That being said, you will need to prove that your ex-spouse never did anything with the property for it to be considered separate by the court.
How a Divorce Attorney Can Help
Some people think that using an online divorce kit will save them money. However, by enlisting the help of an experienced, affordable Florida family law attorney, you may actually save thousands of dollars in the long run. We have experience helping couples divide their assets equally and equitably, which can prevent expensive litigation for judgments in the future.
Working with a skilled lawyer can also help protect your credit score, which is important when you are starting a life of your own. Get in touch today for your free consultation.
The most important thing in life is our family. Therefore, when legal matters such as divorce or separation interfere with family life, it is imperative to make sure that your family is in good hands.
If you are currently considering or in the process of a divorce or separation from your partner, you have likely shopped for lawyers, and were probably surprised to learn how many types of lawyers there are to choose from. In fact, the number of choices can be overwhelming when you’re trying to make the right choice for your family’s future.
One of the most important distinctions to make is the difference between a divorce lawyer and a family law attorney. Although some divorce lawyers are expanding their areas of expertise, traditionally a divorce lawyer only handles issues directly relating to divorce itself, while a family law attorney handles not only divorce, but also a variety of other legal issues that can arise during the course of a domestic relationship – whether or not divorce is a part of the equation.
Traditional Roles of a Divorce Lawyer
Traditionally, divorce lawyers have focused mainly on issues surrounding the divorce itself. However, as the structure of families in the US changes, some divorce lawyers are adapting by covering other areas of domestic law as well.
Dissolution of Marriage
This refers to the paperwork and court process of the divorce itself. Florida courts actually have many requirements for a divorce to be finalized, and a divorce lawyer will be familiar with this process and can help things run more smoothly.
Division of Marital Property
Division of marital property is often much more complex than it seems, and one of the trickier areas of divorce. Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that assets are divided in what is considered to be a fair manner. It is important to remember, though, that “fair” does not necessarily mean “equal.”
Child Custody and Support
If you and your ex-spouse have children together, child custody and support will need to be determined as a part of the divorce proceedings. A divorce lawyer will help arrange child custody, visitation schedules, and child support.
If one spouse has a significantly higher income or income potential, it is possible that spousal support, or alimony, will be required as a term of the divorce. A divorce lawyer can help negotiate alimony.
Roles of a Family Law Attorney
A family law attorney can help with all of the above divorce processes, plus many other family legal issues, even when divorce is not a part of the equation. These include:
Unmarried Separating Couples
If you are not married to your partner but have children together, child custody and support will still need to be arranged should you break up.
Sadly, domestic violence is very common in the US. If you are a victim of domestic violence, or are facing domestic violence accusations yourself, a family law attorney can help.
Adoption and Fostering
Interested in caring for a child who isn’t yours biologically. The legal processes involved in fostering or – especially – adopting a child can be complex, confusing, and potentially very expensive.
Do you know what kind of adoption service you want to work with? Are you looking for a child of a particular age? Does it matter if you get a boy or girl? What about their ethnic, racial, or national background?
All of these things can matter in terms of time, expense, and complexity. A knowledgeable family lawyer is a great resource to have on your side to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
Determining the paternity of a child and laying the groundwork for parental rights and child support is a tricky process that requires legal action. A family law attorney can help with any issues you may have surrounding paternity.
There are often lingering legal issues after a divorce is finalized, particularly if children are involved, or one spouse has hidden assets. A family law attorney can help with legal issues that come up after divorce, known as post-divorce litigation.
These are just some of the many legal issues that a family law attorney can help you with. If you currently need help with a domestic legal situation, the best thing you can do to alleviate the issue is to reach out to a compassionate and experienced Florida family law attorney who can fight to help you protect your rights and secure your family’s future.
Getting divorced isn’t just about separating your life from your spouse, but also your finances. If you’re going to be receiving alimony, that means figuring out where that money fits into your overall financial picture.
How exactly do you do this?
In this post, we’re going to offer several suggestions on how to use your alimony check for maximum benefit.
Develop a Budget
In the first six to 12 months after your divorce, it’s crucial to develop a budget. If you didn’t handle the finances before your divorce, this can feel like a major challenge, but you can do it with a bit of effort and planning. Use financial planning software to come up with a list of your income sources and expenses. Then draft a plan that allows you to stay within your means. Your alimony check should be part of this.
Something important to remember is that in a number of different ways, it’s more expensive to live separately than it is to live together. Couple this with the fact that divorce is already forcing you to divide the money that you’ve been sharing with your spouse and it adds up to learning how to live with less. Reassess all your expenses. Look at last year’s bank and credit card statements to come up with estimates. If you need help, don’t hesitate to enroll in a money management course or work with a financial planner so you can stay on track with your budget.
Another thing to remember is that alimony is taxable. Every time you receive an alimony payment, set part of it aside to pay the taxes on it. Don’t spend it now and get in a bind when taxes are due.
Prepare for Life without Alimony
Alimony payments should never be considered a permanent solution. If you are receiving alimony, your ex-spouse may retire or become disabled, and the payments will stop. You will also stop receiving payments if you live with someone or remarry.
Because of these things, it’s smart to put alimony into a separate column for income and look at it as a temporary crutch you can use to help get yourself on your feet financially. Ideally, you want to come up with a plan that gradually decreases your dependence on alimony until you don’t really need it anymore.
Pay Off Debts
Divorce can be costly for both spouses. Your alimony payment can help pay your attorney fees and any other debts for which you are personally responsible. Make this a top priority, so you can get out of debt quickly and start raising your income level with a new job.
Use Alimony to Further Your Education
Since alimony won’t last forever, you’ll need to start working again. You may need to acquire new skills or training to get a job. Your alimony payments can fund your education costs, required licensing, and any equipment you need. A new job will boost your confidence along with your income.
Pay Rent and Other Monthly Bills
Especially early on, alimony is likely to make up a decent portion of your regular monthly income, so it is important that you treat it as such and use it to cover the cost of typical living expenses.
Beyond this, you may have needed to move due to the divorce. Your alimony payment can go toward the deposit, the first month’s rent, and the cost of setting up various utilities.
Hold Off on Big Purchases
To the extent that you are able, don’t make any huge financial commitments the first year after your divorce. Give yourself the time you need to adjust to your new financial circumstances and learn how much money you really spend on a monthly basis before, say, deciding to buy a house or a new car.
Consider Health Insurance
It’s more expensive to have your own insurance plan. Research plans that will work best for you and be sure to allocate part of your alimony payment to protect your health.
Use Alimony for Professional Services
Several types of professional services can help you recover after your divorce, and alimony payments can pay for those services. Enlist the help of an attorney to help plan your estate. You can also hire a life coach to help you start a new career. Finally, you can use your alimony payments for therapy sessions. They will help you sort through your emotions and gain strength.
Obviously, these are just suggestions. How you end up using your alimony check will depend upon your specific circumstances and needs. The important takeaway here is to figure out what your expenses are going to be like as you start your new life and how alimony best fits into that.
Changes in tax law under the Trump administration are likely to affect all of us in many ways. One of the more surprising ways, however, is divorce.
How so? Because the new tax law includes a provision that gets rid of the tax break divorcees currently receive for paying alimony. The change is expected to make divorcing couples less generous when negotiating alimony.
In fact, a poll conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers revealed that about two-thirds of matrimonial attorneys expect for divorce negotiations to become more acrimonious when the new tax law takes effect. That’s a pretty good indication that we can expect the divorce process to become more drawn-out and potentially embittered.
There is a tiny bit of a silver lining, though: the law only affects divorces finalized after the end of 2018. This means that people have the rest of this year to finalize their divorce under the old rules, something that could make alimony negotiations much easier – and more financially beneficial for both parties.
No one wants to endure a protracted, embittered divorce. It adds unnecessary pain and stress to an already difficult process. So if you’re thinking seriously about divorce or already in the middle of proceedings, it may be in everyone’s best interest to work out your differences with your former spouse and finalize divorce proceedings sooner rather than later.
How do you do this?
File a Joint Petition for Divorce
If possible, it may be best to file a joint petition for divorce. In this circumstance, the spouses (with or without legal counsel) have already worked out all the terms of the divorce and are simply asking the court to approve their petition to legally end the marriage.
The circumstances surrounding divorce can be painful and sometimes even embarrassing to discuss. However, to make your divorce process move as smoothly as possible, it’s imperative to be completely honest with your attorney. Rest assured that family lawyers have heard it all, and that as a professional, your attorney will not be judgmental.
Withholding information from your lawyer can lead to being blindsided in court, and even to sanctions for lying. Also, if you hide an asset worth $1,000 or more, your ex has the right to take you back to court.
Find a Good Therapist
A divorce is likely to bring on a whirlwind of emotions, many of which may keep you from behaving rationally as you enter negotiations. A therapist can help you process these emotions and channel them healthily so that you can enter negotiations with a clear head.
Take the High Road
It’s tempting to attempt to seek revenge on your ex-spouse, making sure that he or she “get what they deserve.” However, this approach is likely to lead to an ugly, drawn-out process that isn’t in anyone’s best interest.
Whenever possible, rise above any resentment you may hold for your ex-spouse and instead negotiate a deal that’s fair for everyone involved.
Put Your Children First
If you have children with your spouse, remember that they, too, are suffering a great deal of pain and stress due to the divorce. Put their needs first by ensuring that both parents get adequate visitation time, ideally arranging for joint custody (something Florida courts already try to do automatically).
Remember, no one is suggesting that you rush into divorce. However, if you’ve already been thinking about it, but putting it off for one reason or another, the changes that are going to be implemented starting next year make it worth thinking about more seriously. To learn more about your options, get in touch with one of our offices.
If you’re thinking about getting a divorce, but you’re afraid you won’t be able to rebuild your life afterward, you aren’t alone. It’s quite common for people who are considering divorce to worry that life might be harder if they end up going through with it.
However, while you should absolutely think hard before taking that step, you also can’t allow your fear to prevent you from getting out of a situation that just isn’t working and may even be harmful. Below we’re going to share a list of tips meant to show you that it is possible to move forward with the right approach. Here’s how:
Let Your Feelings Out
Intense feelings along a wide spectrum are totally normal. In fact, divorce can even cause conflicting emotions. Don’t stuff your feelings down and try to ignore them. Denial will keep you stuck. Releasing them will help you to move on.
Allow Grief to Take Its Course
Divorce is a series of losses. You’ll grieve the lost hopes and dreams, as well as the loss of companionship. Grief is a long, difficult process. There’s no sugarcoating that.
You have to give yourself time to work through your sad feelings, either by talking or journaling. You’ll reach the acceptance stage in due time.
Reach Out for Help
It’s important to reach out to friends, family, and/or a counselor to process your grief. Their perspectives will provide the affirmation and encouragement you need. This is especially important if you have children. You will need a network of support, and your children will need it too.
Use Your Pain for Good
Pain after divorce can be an excellent teaching tool. You can learn about your weaknesses so that you can become stronger and more mature. You can also use your pain to become more compassionate to others who have been divorced, enabling you to help someone else in the future.
Let Go of the Past
It’s unproductive and harmful to yourself to keep hoping that a dead relationship will revive. Work through your pain and let the past go. If you are a person of faith, you can use it to gain strength so you can leave the past behind.
Forgiveness doesn’t happen all at once. You’ll need to offer it over and over to your ex-spouse – and maybe to yourself as well. Withholding forgiveness can make you bitter. Offer it as a gift to yourself and you’ll experience greater peace of mind.
Take Care of Yourself
You need to prioritize yourself during your healing process. It’s wise to treat yourself as if you were recovering from surgery. Quality rest, good nutrition, and plenty of downtime will help you heal. Exercise can powerfully lift your mood and boost your self-image. Engage in calming activities every day, such as hot baths or reading. Avoid addictive substances or habits as coping mechanisms.
Make a Fresh Start
It’s tempting to nurse your wounds alone, but that can lead you down the path to depression. You can join new groups to form friendships if your social network fell apart with your divorce. Choose groups based on hobbies or volunteer opportunities, and your spirits will be lifted.
Monitor Your Finances
It’s important to take inventory of your altered financial picture. Create a new budget with spreadsheets for income and expenses, along with liabilities and assets. You will probably need to close old accounts and open new ones. Pace yourself and seek financial advice if you need it.
Have Hope for the Future
New dreams, wishes, and hopes are ahead. As you look to the future, you can embrace and celebrate what’s waiting for you.
We can help you get the process started. Call today for your free consultation with a compassionate attorney.
You’ve probably seen lots of advice out there on how to tell your children about your divorce. Which makes sense. If you have kids with your spouse, they’re the ones who are going to be the most directly impacted by your decision to divorce.
Kids, however, aren’t the only ones who will be affected by your divorce. To some degree or other, your new reality mean changes for just about everyone you know. Friends. Coworkers. Extended family members.
In fact, often the hardest people to tell after your own children is your parents, because the range of responses they might have is unpredictable. Your parents may worry for your emotional health and the welfare of your children. They may feel responsible, both emotionally and financially, for you in ways they haven’t been in years. If they liked your spouse, they might express sadness over losing that relationship. If they didn’t like them, it’s possible you might even get a backhanded “I told you so.”
Bottom line? This conversation can be tricky and difficult. That’s why we decided to put together the below post. Read on for guidance and practical help on telling mom and dad about your breakup.
Do’s and Don’ts for Telling Your Parents
Even if you have a good relationship with your parents, revealing your divorce can stir anxiety. You may worry about disappointing them, disrupting family gatherings and traditions, or facing judgment for your decision. It’s important to get a handle on these feelings before you break the news. The stronger you are going into this difficult conversation, the better it will go.
Here are several tips to keep in mind when telling your parents about your decision to divorce.
Do prepare an informal speech.
This talk could be one of the hardest ones you’ve ever had to deliver, and some advance preparation will make it easier. Let them know if the divorce is amicable or antagonistic, so they know what to expect. Speak directly but tactfully. Try not to cast your ex in an unfavorable light, especially if you have children, as your parents will still have to see him or her in the future.
Don’t tell them everything.
Your marital dirty laundry doesn’t have to become their business. Tell them just enough so they understand the main reason for the divorce, and keep the rest private.
Don’t expect them to understand.
Unless your parents have been divorced themselves, they may not understand why you feel divorce is necessary. They may come from a different era when divorce was simply not an option, and they may not understand your choice. Don’t feel pressured or guilty because they come from a different perspective. Show respect for their opinions, but draw firm boundaries around your decision and refuse to take flak for it.
Do give them time to process.
They will need time for their own grieving and adjustment process. They may feel a loss of status by having to tell their friends that their child is divorcing. Your parents may feel powerless to change the pain and upheaval divorce will bring to you and your children. Make allowances for their feelings and perspectives, and remember they will adjust in time, just as you will.
Do assure them about their grandchildren.
When you divorce, they will likely worry whether you are emotionally capable to handle the divorce and the demands of being a newly-single parent. They need to know the plan you have in place for managing their grandkids. This will make the transition easier for your children too.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Divorce is stressful, and your parents’ emotional support can help you weather the storm. If they can help you financially or watch your children, plan a detailed discussion with them where you go over these topics. Tell them exactly what kind of help you need, and they’ll appreciate having a plan of action.