The already-complicated divorce process becomes even more complicated when you add children into the equation. If you and your spouse are divorcing and have children, ask yourself the following questions to make sure that you prioritize your children’s needs.
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Do You Have Legal Help?
You and your spouse can divorce without any outside help through a pro se divorce. However, this method is not advisable for situations with children, since custody issues are notoriously complicated. Contact a family law company, such as the Cordell & Cordell team, to find legal help tailored to your situation.
What Are Your Rights?
Under normal circumstances, both parents have equal rights to child custody, so they split the responsibility. For example, you and your spouse might alternate weeks with the children. If either of you has a criminal record or if the divorce is occurring because of domestic violence, your rights change. You should also be aware of longstanding biases within the legal system, such as the tendency to favor mothers in custody battles. Although companies such as Cordell and Cordell are trying to change these injustices, they still occur, and you should be ready to fight them.
Will Your Housing Situation Change?
Unless you already have two homes, either you or your spouse must move out. Which spouse gets to keep the existing house affects your divorce settlement, so you should agree on this at an early stage. After you do so, whoever is purchasing or renting a new home should keep in mind the children’s needs. For example, a one-bedroom apartment is not a viable option for living with your six children, even if they will be with your spouse every other week. Furthermore, try to make the new place feel like home by hanging up your children’s artwork, bringing some of their toys and clothes from your spouse’s house and letting them decorate their new bedrooms.
How Stable Are Your Finances?
Divorce is often expensive, but you must make sure that you have enough money to support yourself and your children. This is especially important if you have been a stay-at-home parent. Work with your lawyer to ensure that your spouse does not take advantage of you and that you can afford rent and grocery bills after the divorce is over.
As you prepare yourself for divorce, ask yourself these questions to make sure that you meet your children’s material and emotional needs, both during the process and in your life afterward.