Many people don’t like change in their lives, which means that separations of any kind can be difficult. When the separation is between married partners, the emotional toll is even greater. If you are separating from your spouse, having the right counsel to guide your legal separation is a vital component of protecting your interests. Here are some important things to think about if you are considering a legal separation.
Save yourself stress
Not everyone handles stress in the same way. We all have different coping mechanisms, and this is a natural time for some people to experiment with different methods. Unfortunately, some of the more common coping behaviors will often make the situation worse. Here are some of the practices to watch out for:
- Increased alcohol consumption
- Risky behavior
- Poor financial decisions
- Excessive shopping or “retail therapy”
One of the best ways to protect yourself from making bad decisions during your separation is to hire an experienced and reputable attorney who will consider your best interests when your own judgment might be clouded by overwhelming emotions or external factors. It’s also not uncommon for the two opposing parties to completely stop talking to one another during legal proceedings. Having a good lawyer to field any questions and address any concerns will keep the separation process moving forward and enable you to sleep much better at night.
The division of assets can be an extremely emotional and exhausting ordeal to discuss. It is common for couples to fight and disagree on what seems fair. This is particularly true when retirement funds, workplace investments, stocks, bonds and other financial considerations come into play. Allowing your lawyer to step out front and guide you through this difficult process can help you attain a fair agreement while lessening your exposure to the conflicts.
Placing your children
One of the most important issues that must be settled during your legal separation is determining the best placement for your children. Each parent’s ability to create a healthy home environment, time availability and financial ability to meet the children’s needs will be reviewed. Based on the findings, temporary child custody and visitation agreements will be drawn up. If the separation leads to divorce, either parent may move to have the children’s placement changed by the court.
Paperwork to show your lawyer
Getting prepared in advance will help you maximize your time with your attorney and streamline the process. The following documents are a good idea to have on hand when you show up for your first meeting:
- Your financial information with a list of incomes, expenses, assets and liabilities
- Your spouse’s financial information. (If necessary, this information can be obtained with a court order so don’t worry about being stonewalled)
- A parenting plan for your children
- Your long-term and short-term goals for your separation
- An estimate of what your spouse’s goals may be
An experienced lawyer will help you fine tune any of the above points and further define your goals. More importantly, your legal counsel will support you through this potentially traumatic time, ensuring that your emotions don’t lead you to make decisions you will regret later.
Attorney Jonathan Meek has guided many individuals through the legal separation process and he is ready to bring his education and experience to bear to assist you as well. Contact Meek Law Firm today and schedule a consultation to discuss your needs. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to set an appointment.