A Checklist For A Smooth Divorce Process
At C.E.L. & Associates, Inc., we understand that getting a divorce can be challenging for both the parties involved, their children, and their families. A divorce can be viewed as a stressful or difficult task, but with a little preparation, you can handle your divorce amicably and efficiently.
As experts in divorce mediation, we have created a handy checklist to help you get through your divorce with as little stress as possible. Follow our checklist to getting divorced smoothly, so that you can prepare yourself for divorce and avoid any challenges that may occur.
1. Do your homework at every stage and throughout the process to avoid surprises along the way.
2. Think about whether you actually want to get divorced before speaking to your spouse, unless your spouse initiates the conversation.
3. Make sure you try therapy alone or with your spouse before making this critical decision. If your spouse is not willing to speak to a therapist, you may still benefit from going alone before making this important decision.
4. Do your homework about the divorce process. Make sure you understand the difference between mediation, collaborative, and litigation (when a case might still be settled) before choosing a professional to help you with your divorce.
5. Make sure you are comfortable with the attorney you choose if you want to select one before mediating. This person will know a lot of personal information about you and your spouse, which means you may want to meet with more than one before choosing an attorney you prefer.
6. If your spouse is willing to mediate, you do not have to hire an attorney before the mediation begins. It is, however, essential to ask an attorney what might happen if you go to court before mediating, so you know how to negotiate. It is also critical that you tell your attorney you would like to mediate if that is possible.
7. Think about whether you want to keep the house, that is, if this is even an option because it has emotional and financial components, which you must consider.
8. If you will be able to refinance the house in your own name, think about what that will do to your cash flow.
9. Consider how it will feel emotionally to live in your house without your spouse, and if you even want to consider that possibility.
10. Mediation is the most cost-effective way to resolve parenting issues. Even if you want an attorney negotiating financial aspects of your divorce, tell your attorney if you think you can mediate for your children.
11. Mediation helps parents focus on the best interests of their children. Regardless of the feelings, you may have towards your spouse, you need to be able to communicate about your children in the future.
12. You may need or want a therapist to support you regardless of the process you choose. Therapy will help you take care of yourself unless, of course, it is couples therapy, which might make your divorce go more smoothly.
13. Hire professionals you may need to help you through the process. If you have a financial advisor, make your own appointment with this person. If you need to speak to someone about a budget, ask the mediator or attorney to give you some names of people who can help you.
14. Take notes during the mediation, and while consulting with the specialists that you hire. Make sure you know what issues have been covered in every meeting and what is important to you. Tell your attorney what you want to discuss or what you think has not been considered. Own the process!
15. Collect documents for the mediation and your attorney. These include copies of retirement accounts, bank statements, student loans and pay stubs that you can collect to make the process more efficient and help you understand your finances.
16. Ask for an invoice from your attorney if you do not receive one every month. Make sure you understand the work that is being done and the amounts you are being charged by asking questions.
17. Remember your attorney works for you. You are entitled to understand the work that is being done on your behalf. Keep asking questions until you do.
18. If you decide to mediate and do not hire an attorney until after mediation, make sure you understand the legal documents that are drafted from your Memorandum of Understanding. Also, remember that attorneys can make mistakes, so be sure to go through any written documents before agreeing to anything.
19. If there is a court appearance scheduled for a prove up, you need to be there. The judge may have questions for you or your spouse.
20. Regardless of who chose to get divorced, going through one is difficult. As a result, it is essential for you to make a conscious effort to take care of yourself through the process. Exercise, sleep, spend time with friends, or read a book to ensure you do not focus solely on the divorce.
If you have any concerns about getting a divorce, reach out to the experts at C.E.L. & Associates, Inc. We are parenting coordinators and divorce mediators in Chicago, IL, and our mission is to facilitate conversations among family members during any conflict or transition. Our team handles same-sex relationships, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and couples who have never been married. We provide the tools, structure, and guidance to enable you to make informed decisions and advocate for yourself through the divorce mediation process. When we guide you, we aim to reach a resolution or settlement that will be accepted not only by you and your spouse but also approved by the court.