PREPARING FOR DIVORCE/BREAKUP
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Preparing for divorce/breakup
Before I begin, I am NOT an attorney…more importantly I am not YOUR attorney. I am a guy that has been in the trenches, learned (i think) a couple of things, and decided to share my thoughts. The advice is with what you paid for it…
Divorce/custody can be a challenging and emotional time, and the settlement process can be complicated and overwhelming. Here are some things you may wish you had known before going through a divorce settlement:
Divorce/Custody Settlement Guide
Understand the Divorce/Custody Process: It’s essential to understand the divorce/custody process in your state, including the timelines and legal requirements for divorce/custody. Depending on where you live, there may be different steps to follow, including filing for divorce, property division, and custody arrangements.
Article discussing things to be concerned about.
This list. Commit it to memory and follow it to the letter (I wish I did). This call in person on the Dave Ramsey show was a carbon copy of what I went through and I wish I would have done with the List author said to do.
Whether you filed or were filed against, the FIRST moment, you feel that things are going south, BUY and USE a recorder. You need to have a recorder going 24/7 due to the shenanigans that happen during a breakup and how often the “silver bullet” is used.
Get Organized: Before starting the divorce/custody process, organize all your financial documents and assets, including bank statements, tax returns, investment portfolios, and retirement accounts.
Determine goals: and more importantly be realistic in the expectations. If you want sole custody but you can barely remember if you have kids, you are going to fail.
Write down your goals for the divorce/custody agreement and bullet point why they make sense (pros and cons)
Once you have your goals written down, determine if hiring an attorney makes sense. If you have no children and no assets, find the “how to get divorced kit in your state and go that route. If you have children and/or have assets understand that the family court system will use your children to drain your assets.
Hire a Skilled Lawyer (or work with a paralegal and go pro se): A skilled lawyer/legal assistance can help you navigate the divorce/custody settlement process and ensure that your interests are represented. They can provide valuable advice on legal options, help you understand your rights, and assist with negotiating a fair settlement.
Keep Emotions in Check: Divorce/custody issues can be an emotional and stressful time, but it’s important to keep emotions in check during the settlement process. Stay calm and focused on the issues at hand, and avoid making decisions based solely on emotions. Things to consider:
- Silver bullet – ALWAYS keep a recorder on you 24/7 and prepare for false allegations, it is a common tactic
- Drinking/drug use – For the love of God, do not start/continue drinking or drug use during this time
- Work commitments – keep an eye on work commitments and the impacts of the divorce/custody issues
For all of the messages I have reviewed over the years, understand that you STBX partner is no longer a partner, this is ALL a business transaction. No fairness, no empathy, no wondering why (s)he cheated or did this or that. Its JUST FACTS and DATA. Your attorney, for $500+ an hour will offer the same ear that a friend ($0) will offer. Find a support group .
Understand Property Division: In most states, property division in a divorce is based on the principle of “equitable distribution.” This means that assets and debts acquired during the marriage are divided fairly between the spouses, but not necessarily equally. It’s essential to understand the factors that determine how property is divided, including the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse, and the contributions of each spouse to the marriage. For custody, like it or not, 80-90% of the time mother gets primary custody. If you are a man, you will have to fight hard to overcome this, and yes, your attorney knows this (remember, their goal is to make money….yours).
And, understand that there are resources out there to FIND the money.
Consider Tax Implications: The division of assets and debts in a divorce and child custody can have significant tax implications. For example, transferring retirement assets or selling property can result in capital gains taxes.
For custody, Federal Tax code states that the person with the most overnights claim them, however, the agreement will stipulate who gets the tax credit. Note- if you have multiple children, be sure to split them with the youngest child being yours to claim (author’s experience)
Keep Future Financial Stability in Mind: Divorce/child support can have a long-term impact on your financial stability, so it’s important to keep your future in mind during the settlement process. Consider the cost of living, the potential for future earnings, and any other factors that may affect your financial situation.
Don’t Forget About Insurance: After a divorce/separation, you may need to obtain new insurance policies, including health, life, and disability insurance. It’s essential to consider these needs during the settlement process and ensure that you have adequate coverage.
Focus on the Children: If you have children, their well-being should be the top priority during the settlement process. Consider their needs, including custody arrangements, child support, and education expenses.
Focus on yourself: Lets not kid ourselves, this is the probably by far the worst thing to happen to you. This is a time of self discovery (but not too much), learn about the real you, find ways to heal ie hobbies, working out, eating better, etc.
DO NOT get back into the dating pool/relationship until you have healed.
Do not put the turd back up your butt. Meaning, you broke up for a reason, taking someone back is synonymous to this anal(ogy). Far too often after the dust settles (s)he tries to get back into your life. Don’t do it. Duh!
But, keep communication open, yet grey rock, use a court ordered app to communicate.
Regrets after signing a custody agreement
Not Fighting Harder: Some parents may regret not fighting harder for more time with their children or for a more favorable custody arrangement. This could be due to a lack of information, poor legal representation, or other factors.
Not Considering the Long-Term Effects: Custody agreements can have a long-term impact on a child’s life, and some parents may regret not considering the long-term effects of the agreement. For example, if a parent moves far away, it may be difficult for the child to maintain a relationship with the other parent.
Not Listening to the Child’s Wishes: In some cases, children may express their preferences for custody arrangements, but parents may not listen or take those wishes into consideration. In hindsight, some parents may regret not considering their child’s desires more carefully.
Not Considering the Child’s Best Interests: Custody agreements should always be focused on the child’s best interests, but sometimes, parents may prioritize their own needs over their child’s. This can lead to regrets later on, especially if the child suffers as a result.
Not Seeking Mediation: Custody agreements can often be contentious, but seeking mediation can be a way to reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial for both parents and the child. Some parents may regret not trying mediation before resorting to a legal battle.
Not Having a Clear Parenting Plan: Custody agreements should include a clear and detailed parenting plan that outlines each parent’s responsibilities and rights. If the parenting plan is not clear, it can lead to confusion and conflict down the line.
This FREE parenting certification course can give you insight into parenting requirements, etc.
Not Consulting with a Family Therapist: Going through a custody agreement can be emotionally challenging for both parents and children. Some parents may regret not seeking the support of a family therapist to help them navigate this difficult time.
Things I wish I knew before getting divorced/custody
Compilation of things that past litigants wish they would have thought of or pushed for/against during their divorce/custody agreement. Things your lawyer won’t mention.
Make sure that if you have multiple children and are unable to get the tax credit for both/all, that you make sure that you get the tax credit for the youngest child.
At some point the child will be old enough to get a car/need car insurance. Make sure that both parties are equally (legally and financially) responsible for payment of car insurance and that who that asset is titled in (child cannot legally sign title for the car)
Make sure there is language that each parent will within a date time frame cooperate with obtaining passports, OR the requesting parent can receive them by default.
Given the unhinged nature of some of the people getting separated, they tend to want to get their child put on medication, which may not be in their best interest.
Insert language that both parties must agree (not a doctor).
Require the decree have specific information (and consequences) for contact by the other parent. This can be during normal time away, special occasions, etc.
Make the agreement ironclad, referencing specific days (Mon-Sun) and/or times with locations
Write in “right of first refusal” for when the other parent cannot do their visitation time. – Jeff Morgan
Make sure the agreement accounts for ALL holidays (get a calendar) and/or special days and life events. This will/can include:
- Funerals for relatives
- Severe illnesses of relatives
Have agreement where either each parent pays half upon MUTUAL AGREEMENT of the educational or extracurricular activity, and/or the requesting person pays the full cost of said activity(ies).
Agreement will state that for activities (school, extra curricular, etc.) that BOTH parties will be invited (72hr min notification) and are able to attend the event.
Some have reported a more favorable outcome after taking a parenting course. This site offers a free parenting certification program.
Make the agreement where if one parent moves, then that parent loses primary custody, for example.
Parent with new boyfriend/girlfriend, provides at their cost (or not) a background check to the other parent upon 7 days from request date and consequences for not providing information timely.
Resolving conflicts post-decree in a divorce can be challenging, but it’s crucial for the well-being of everyone involved. Here are some bullet points for conflict resolution in a post-decree situation:
- Foster open and honest communication between both ex-spouses.
- Encourage respectful dialogue, even in the face of disagreement.
- Consider mediation as a method for resolving disputes.
- Engage a neutral third party to help facilitate discussions and find common ground.
Focus on the Child’s Best Interest:
- Keep the child’s best interests at the forefront of any decision-making process.
- Prioritize the child’s well-being over personal grievances.
Set Realistic Expectations:
- Establish realistic expectations for each party’s roles and responsibilities post-decree.
- Clarify any ambiguities in the divorce decree to prevent future misunderstandings.
- Seek legal advice when necessary to ensure that both parties understand their rights and responsibilities.
- Consult with an attorney to explore potential solutions and alternatives.
Consistency in Co-Parenting:
- Strive for consistency in co-parenting practices to provide stability for the child.
- Maintain a unified front on major parenting decisions.
Use a Neutral Platform:
- Utilize neutral communication platforms or tools for discussing important matters.
- Keep written records of agreements and communications.
Review and Update Agreements:
- Periodically review and, if needed, update parenting plans, custody arrangements, and support agreements.
- Ensure that agreements reflect the current needs and circumstances of both parties.
- Consider involving a family therapist or counselor to facilitate discussions and provide emotional support.
- Utilize therapy for both the parents and the child to navigate emotional challenges.
Conflict Resolution Training:
- Attend conflict resolution or co-parenting classes to learn effective communication and problem-solving skills.
- Acquire tools for managing emotions during challenging discussions.
- Foster a sense of mutual respect between both ex-spouses.
- Avoid engaging in hostile or negative behavior that can escalate conflicts.
- Be flexible in finding solutions that accommodate the changing needs of both parties.
- Focus on finding common ground and compromise rather than maintaining a rigid stance.
- Agree on implementing “time-outs” during heated discussions to allow emotions to settle before continuing the conversation.
- Avoid making impulsive decisions during emotionally charged moments.
- Consider involving a parenting coordinator to assist in making decisions related to the child’s upbringing.
- Use this professional to help resolve disputes and offer guidance on parenting matters.
Remember, the goal is to create a healthy and stable environment for the child, even in the face of post-decree conflicts. Patience, empathy, and a willingness to cooperate are essential in moving towards resolution.
Handling children’s cell phones in a divorced family can be a delicate matter. Here are some bullet points to consider:
Communication and Agreement:
- Maintain open communication with the other parent.
- Establish clear agreements on cell phone usage and rules.
- Strive for consistency in rules and expectations between both households.
- Ensure that both parents are on the same page regarding screen time, app usage, and other guidelines.
- Implement parental controls on the child’s device to manage and monitor usage.
- Discuss and agree on appropriate restrictions and filtering settings.
Emergency Contact Information:
- Ensure that both parents have access to important emergency contact information stored in the child’s phone.
- Use a shared calendar or communication platform to coordinate and update each other on the child’s schedule, including device usage.
- Respect the child’s privacy while also emphasizing responsible online behavior.
- Discuss with the child about the importance of sharing any concerns they may have about their online experiences.
Device Usage Schedule:
- Develop a consistent schedule for when the child can use their phone, especially during school nights.
- Agree on bedtime rules and when electronic devices should be put away.
- Clarify financial responsibilities related to the cell phone, such as who pays for the device, plan, and any additional features.
Unified Approach to Discipline:
- Present a unified front when it comes to disciplinary actions related to the child’s phone usage.
- Discuss and agree on consequences for misuse and stick to them.
Education and Awareness:
- Educate both parents about the latest apps, online trends, and potential risks.
- Foster an ongoing dialogue about digital safety and responsible online behavior.
- Schedule regular check-ins between both parents to discuss any concerns or changes related to the child’s cell phone usage.
Flexibility and Adaptability:
- Be open to adjusting rules and agreements as the child grows older and their needs change.
- Adapt to new technologies and challenges that may arise in the digital landscape.
Pictures/videos, etc of the children cannot be posted on the new significant other/spouse social media.
neither party can have othernight guests (male/female) during visitation.
Neither party is to refer to their new significant other as dad/mom/mother/father to the child while in or out of their care.
Neither part is to refer to the other parent by anything other than mom/dad/mother/father, etc.
Use the audio (and/or) video recorder that you used when you first started going through this to fend off the “silver bullet” and take pictures/video EVERY drop off and pick up with your children.
As reported, 80+ % of allegations are false and its the primary go to for exes. Too many stories of exes claiming you abused a child, “finding” scrapes, cuts, etc. and using that to take your custody away.
At EVERY drop off and pick up, you should take a few pictures of your child from various angles, date stamped, so that in the event you receive an allegation, you can quickly squash it with the evidence.
Can store this information in your phone OR use an email account (recommend having an email account that can be used as a “diary”, which can then be given to the child when they come of age.
More often than not, your divorce involved titled property (i.e. house/car etc.).
Put language in the decree that states that the person keeping the property has X period of time to have your name removed with documented proof sent to you by X date/event. Put REPERCUSSIONS in the decree for failure to do so, such as:
- Default judgement of X per day/month/year
- Titled property will revert to the other person at their expense with no need to go back to court
- House will be sold/put on the market (and put specific language on how this will work)
Understand that lenders are not necessarily bound by your divorce decree. For example, the mortgage company has no reason to remove your name from the mortgage and a divorce decree, although a legal document, does not automatically mean it will be removed.
If you have a Munchhausen by proxy parent that likes to take your child to the doctor for no reason or tries to shop your child aro￼und this will stop the games or they can pay for it out of their own pocket.
Actual language put into decree:
“Each party shall pay the health care expenses as defined in this paragraph incurred by that parent until each parent has incurred uncovered health care expense in excess of$ 1,000.00 per calendar year at which time the parents shall begin the reimbursement of health care expenses for those sums that exceed $1,000.00 per calendar year. Father’s share of unreimbursed mental health expenses for the children is capped at a maximum of $2,400.00 per vear. A calendar year is January 1st through December 31st. If there is to be reimbursement then Father shall pay 50% and Mother shall pay 50% of the reasonable and necessary health care expenses incurred by the children provided that the expenses incurred by that parent exceed $1,000.00 per year.”
This guy spent over half a million on false DV charges.
Understand that Family Court will weaponize your children for profit.
I can’t stress the route this will take enough. During my ex-wife’s 3rd time initiated divorce against me(more on that), she pulled this nonsense. Thankfully, I followed Tom’s info and kept a recorder on me 24/7, and shut it down immediately (had audio of her being the aggressor) while she grabbed her arm crying and telling the courts how I “abused” her. Pulled out the recording and started to play it…she quickly changed her demeanor and said that she didn’t want to pursue it any further…..but the wounded kitten could have gotten a Grammy for her performance.
Same thing when cops are called out. Have the recorder going. Although the police were going to put her in jail for lying, the report was VERY generic when presented in court.
Demand nothing less than 50/50 (if it makes sense). Non-negotiable! Do not do temporary orders or anything without that. Custody evaluations are a waste of time and money. Your attorney will tell you that standard possession (or extended possession) is the norm….do not listen to them or take that. Demand 50/50 and establish it before temporary orders are even discussed. Here are a number of “50/50” schedules:
Personally, I did the 2-2-3 wrap plan, which ensures that the children have regular contact with each parent. I will leave you with statistics of kids that have their father’s reduced to visitors: