Previously, I touched on a couple points to remember when approaching divorce. Whether you live in Mobile, Dothan, Tuscaloosa of Huntsville, every woman going though or contemplating a divorce in Alabama should recognize some of the more common traps that people fall into during this emotionally draining time.
As a Birmingham divorce attorney, I always try to help my clients with all aspects of the divorce process. Whether you are just now thinking about becoming legally separated or already going through a divorce, you should always approach the process with a clear mind.
The following are some additional points to keep in mind when making the transition to being single again. Naturally, you should retain the services of an experienced divorce lawyer to make certain that you have covered all the areas that pertain to your circumstances.
3) Learn early on the details of custody in Alabama. Sadly for many women going through divorce today, gone are the days of courts automatically handing over custody to the children's mother. While preference has tended to go to the mother in the past, this is no longer the case when determining a sole or primary custodian for the kids of divorced parents.
Since there exist multiple options and variations on both custody and parenting provisions, you should perform at least as much research on child custody as you probably did when it came to your pregnancy or schooling your children. The more you know going into the divorce process, the better prepared you will be when the time comes to arguing for custody of your kids.
4) Don't always assume you absolutely must keep the house. This is one of the key mistakes that many women make when faced with divorce. And it's not surprising since our homes often symbolize security and stability for the children. But temper this urge until you can truly assess the impact of keeping the house. Many times the costs can be much too high for a single parent.
Maybe you feel you can swing it, but also consider current market conditions and the state of the economy from a jobs perspective. Could you sell the house quickly and at the price you want if you lost you job? Renting has become a better option for some people ever since the economy got rough.
Do some number crunching with the help of a financial or legal advisor to determine all of the pros and cons of holding onto a home as a single parent. If you do decide to sell the house while the two of you are still married, or as part of a settlement, you can share the fix-up costs, carrying costs, brokerage fees and any capital gains tax with your spouse, rather than being solely responsible for them.
5) Don't underestimate your retirement assets. If you are still in your prime earning years, or even if you are middle-aged and still very productive, it may be difficult to fully appreciate the benefits and importance of tax-deferred assets in IRA, 401(k) or pension accounts. And although it may be tempting to take “offsetting” cash or the house or even the family car now, while putting off worrying about tomorrow for later, the tax implications could set you back further than you may know.
A financial advisor can help you to carefully analyze long-term needs versus cash-in-hand options. Again, being prepared ahead of time will save you a great deal of grief after the divorce is final. Use the internet and other specialized services to help you make the right financial decisions the first time because you usually cannot go back once you take monies out of a tax-deferred account, for instance.