Whether you’re the type to make resolutions, reflect on the past year, or simply carry on with your life, each New Year brings challenges and opportunities alike. Divorce is one of the biggest changes that can come about in a person’s life. If you’re divorcing in 2022, you can take a few steps to make sure you minimize the challenges and maximize the opportunities your divorce may bring.
1. Acknowledge & Accept Your Feelings
Divorce is stressful. According to the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Scale, a tool used to measure the amount of stress a person is experiencing, divorce is one of the highest stressors in a person’s life – second only to the death of a spouse. When you take the time to acknowledge the feelings you’re having in relation to your divorce, both negative and positive, you are recognizing that they’re real. Instead of avoiding them with the hopes that they’ll lessen and eventually disappear, you can plan accordingly. You can take a proactive approach to your divorce and address what’s important to you, your spouse, and your children.
An article in Psychology Today likens dealing with negative emotions to dealing with bad weather. Perhaps you have a big meeting in the city at 2 p.m., but the weather report shows heavy rain that could affect your commute. Do you rant and rave about the weather or just decide to blow off your meeting? No. You leave a bit earlier, bring an umbrella, and drive carefully to make sure you get there on time and in one piece. You can do the same thing with negative feelings, which are common in any divorce. Look at them, acknowledge them, and address them.
2. Get Informed
Divorce is difficult because it’s an area that most people do not know much about. You probably have dozens of questions about how divorce may affect you. Will you lose your family home? Who will get custody of your children? What happens if you want to move to another county or state? How long will it take? What will it cost? These are all valid issues that you need to understand.
You can eliminate much of the uncertainty associated with divorce by educating yourself on the Massachusetts divorce process, common divorce laws, dos and don’ts, and more. Our family law blog is a valuable source of basic information on divorce in Massachusetts, but you will get the most detailed guidance and insight from your attorney. Choose a lawyer who is experienced, whose approach aligns with your goals, and who will take the time to keep you informed and involved every step of the way.
3. Organize Your Finances
Regardless of your income or assets, divorce will force you to take stock of what you own and what is subject to division between you and your spouse. In Massachusetts, marital property is subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. First, all property is classified as separate or marital. Then, all marital property is divided fairly. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split; it is based on what the judge deems fair and reasonable based on the unique situation.
To prepare yourself for divorce in 2022, you should take the time to get organized:
- Gather bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage statements, tax records, and all other pertinent financial information.
- Make copies of everything and store them in a safe place.
- Note down what you owned prior to the marriage and gather documentation regarding gifts and inheritances, which are not usually subject to division in a divorce.
- Do not try to hide assets or property, as this can only come back to haunt you. It is likely to be discovered, and hiding assets could negatively impact your divorce agreement.
Transparency is crucial when organizing your finances prior to a divorce. You can always talk to your accountant and/or attorney for additional guidance and information.
4. Create a Plan
Writing down a plan and proposed timeline for your divorce can help bring you peace of mind, and it can help you clearly define what you want to accomplish in the coming weeks, months, and so on. Anxiety and stress are often lessened when you know what to expect, and a clear-cut plan is your best way of accomplishing this. Work with your attorney to devise a plan that works for you and your family, and don’t be afraid of changing it if needed. What matters is the outcome, whether you achieve this through arbitration, mediation, or litigation.
Choose the Right Massachusetts Divorce Attorney
Your attorney will be an invaluable asset during your divorce. Divorce is complicated and it can get messy, but the right attorney can help you get through it with the least possible amount of stress – while reaching an outcome that brings opportunities that can make 2022 your best year yet.
Our team at Miller Law Group treats our clients like family. We know we are dealing with situations that have the potential to change the next years and decades of our clients’ lives, and that is why our Massachusetts divorce lawyers always take the approach that is in our clients’ best interests. There is nothing more important than protecting your future.
Find out more about our firm and how we can help with your 2022 divorce by calling (508) 502-7002.