Q&A Topic: Divorce
What catches most people off guard about divorce? What do you wish they knew going into the process?
In my experience, people are surprised by the scope of information gathered and disclosed. If a divorce includes the division of property, then the process can require the disclosure of a significant amount of financial information. When people realize this, many wish they had done a better job of keeping and organizing their records.
What are the legal ways people can get divorced? How do you know which one is best?
In Delaware, there is actually only one way to get a divorce. To get a divorce decree, one spouse must file a petition for divorce with the Family Court.
How can you budget for your divorce? Are there ways to help keep costs down?
The divorce process can be expensive, as can your legal fees. You can take action to keep costs down. For example, get organized. The more organized you are, the less time your attorney needs to spend gathering information for you. Similarly, when you speak to your attorney, clarify your purpose for the conversation. Stay focused. It may feel good to vent, but venting does not help your attorney to do his or her job—and it does not help you to understand your case.
Other than finding a great lawyer, what other support people should be on your team during a divorce?
Finding a great lawyer is a good first step. Depending on the nature of your marital estate, you may need the assistance of other professionals. For example, you may need a business valuator, a financial planner, or a tax advisor. With the assistance of your lawyer, assemble a qualified team that can work well together and that will work for you.
Can you give people going through divorce (or about to separate) any good news—something they might not expect?
There is light at the end of the tunnel. One of the ways Delaware helps people find that light is through mediation. In this process, a neutral mediator tries to help the parties reach a mutual agreement. If mediation succeeds and resolves all the issues, the parties do not need to have a hearing with the Court. As a result, mediation can be faster, less expensive, and less stressful for families.
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