After more than 20 years of being a practicing attorney focused primarily on family law, I would like to share some important insights about the divorce process.
Insight #1: If you consistently disagreed with your spouse over your children’s care and upbringing during the time you were married, that is not likely to change after you are divorced. In many marriages, one parent is more rigid and strict, and one parent is more relaxed and lenient. The more rigid parent will not likely gain control over the more relaxed parent’s parenting style and successfully impose his or her more stringent rules on the other parent. Instead, both parents will likely have to learn to work together, and if nothing else, learn to look the other way on contentious issues.
You probably will not be able to control your ex and his or her parenting style.
If you decide to divorce and if you have children, in most instances you will have contact with your former spouse at least until the children reach 18 and probably beyond that time. Your children will always have to parents—you and your spouse. Children typically have two parents and want to love and be loved by them, even if their parents are no longer together. Accordingly, if you decide divorce is the right option, it is important to keep your children’s needs in mind as you make decisions during your case (and beyond) about how you treat your former spouse and how your actions impact your children.
Insight #2: If you must proceed with the divorce, take it seriously. Realize that your interests may be very different from your spouse’s interests in the divorce process—and the decisions that you make as you are divorcing are sometimes irrevocable.
While it is certainly possible to have an amicable divorce, do not forego protecting your own interests in order to be agreeable.
It is important that you if you do not have adequate information, or if you need legal advice, get it early and certainly get it before you reach an agreement or finalize your case. You do not need to accept your spouse’s opinions about your financial circumstances, what you are entitled to, or what you should receive in the divorce. Do not wait to get the necessary advice until after you sign something—it may be too late.
Insight #3: Keep apprised of the law. Marriage is a social and legal contract. Not only do your friends and family recognize you as husband and wife, but the law recognizes you as husband and wife and imposes certain rights and obligations on you and your spouse as a result of that relationship.
Many people make important decisions during their marriages without knowledge about the laws that apply to them.
These could include deciding whether a spouse will forgo his or career to care for the children or choices about how the couple will use their nonmarital assets to benefit the marriage. Laws in the area of marital and family law are changing rapidly, and no more rapidly than in the last five or six years. For a number of years there has been extensive lobbying in the area of “alimony reform” that could result in laws that are not equitable, fair or supportive of Florida’s families overall. There has been a push for laws that may ultimately redefine marriage and family and how we function in these institutions. There also may be significant changes to the definition of non-marital assets, or new laws affecting parenting plans and time sharing. Even if you choose not to speak out, stay informed. The laws in this area and the changes to those laws will likely impact to you and the decisions that you and your family make on how your you order your affairs.
Insight #4: Divorce is a life-changing event and difficult process but is most often just a single event in your life. While it is easy to dwell on the event, difficulties such as divorce bring opportunity for growth, change and new beginnings. As Albert Einstein is reported to have said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Focusing on your future rather than your past will allow you to navigate this difficult process more easily, effectively and quickly—and with a true appreciation for the opportunities that lie ahead for you.
At Nicole L. Goetz, P.L. we believe that complex or difficult cases present opportunities to put our knowledge and training to work for you. While working through complex and high-net-worth divorces and other family law issues, Nicole and her team strive to ensure that clients receive meticulous and personalized support. If you have questions, would like to receive more information, or need an attorney to assist you during this difficult and often complicated process, please call our office in Naples, Florida at 239-325-5030 to schedule a confidential consultation with our attorneys.
The information provided on law and legal topics is designed for general information only and does not constitute nor should it be considered legal advice. It is not a substitute nor should it be considered a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney knowledgeable about your specific factual situation.