Separation is rarely an easy decision or journey to experience. The reality is that divorce and separation rates around the world are steadily increasing. In your own friend or family circle, you may have heard of those who have gone through a separation or divorce.
If you or your spouse have decided to go through a separation, here are a few steps that may be involved during the process to help you get through this challenging time.
Your Living Situation
In many situations, the conflict that arises due to daily interactions and a difference in opinion and living styles is one factor that leads people to make the decision to separate. One of the first things a person separating wishes to do is to physically separate from his or her spouse to avoid further conflict and disagreement or a difficult living environment. Physical separation is absolutely helpful to minimize conflict and allow you and your spouse to move through the legal steps more amicably, particularly if you’re not getting along. However, before you move out of the home, you should always speak to a family lawyer to understand the legal and practical implications of doing so.
What About the Children?
Aside from your living situation, deciding how to take care of your children with your spouse is another crucial consideration. If you would like to have more involvement with your children, speak with your family lawyer to learn how you can provide more parenting and support. The court will look at the level of involvement between you and your spouse with your children as a factor when deciding custody.
What Is Your End Goal?
Putting more thoughts to the answer to this question is quite important. Will the separation lead to something more final? Or will it only be a temporary phase to give each other space? Providing each other space and time may allow an opportunity to work out prior issues and conflicts. Whatever the case may be, take some time to really think about what you want the end result to be, as this may direct your actions and decisions moving forward.
How Are Your Finances Set Up?
Finances are an important matter during a separation and one of the more challenging aspects. You are entitled to your funds, as is your spouse, especially if they are dependent on you or vice versa. It is important that you do not make any rash financial decisions. In many relationships, one of the spouses is primarily responsible for the management of the parties’ finances, which can make the spouse who is not financially savvy feel like they will be at a disadvantage when it comes times to separate. Speak to your family lawyer about what your next steps should be before making any major financial decisions. If it will be some time before you are officially separated, you may consider opening a separate bank account to keep your income and your spouse’s income separate. However, as there may be joint financial obligations that are ongoing until a separation agreement is signed, it’s best to ensure that there is some agreement on how the finances will be maintained until things are finalized.
Get Documents in Order
Start gathering your important documents and paperwork, such as your marriage certificate, deeds to your property or car, tax returns, and bank statements. It is wise to set up your financial accounts online for easier access to all your financial information. Please ensure to keep all this information and records safe and secure.
Have a Support System
If it is an option, speak to your family or your trusted friends to let them know what is happening and the change that you are about to endure. It will benefit you to have a place where you feel safe and heard while going through this tough transition.
We understand that this can be a very emotional time for those going through it, and with all the moving parts, it may be difficult to make certain decisions. Since every situation is different, please contact one of our experienced family lawyers at Lloyd & Kemper LLP to discuss your situation in detail, and to receive further guidance and recommendations on what your next steps should be.