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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
And if you think that it isn’t a reality, courts routinely teach how to get them like in this training video . A more in-depth look at the silver bullet can be found in this article here.
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: