It may have been a surprise to you, or you may have seen it coming. Regardless, what happens next is in your hands. During this tumultuous time, here are the four things you can do right out of the gate to be prepared for your imminent divorce.
1. Separation Situation
Contacting a divorce lawyer will be pivotal in helping you outline your separation situation. There are rights you have in this time and you should understand them fully. Make sure that you and your spouse both know where the boundaries are during this time.
Remember that “being separated” doesn’t necessarily mean a change in legal status. “Physical separation” is distinct from having signed a separation agreement. A physical separation is just as how it sounds. If you and your spouse are not living together and not legally divorced yet—this is your separation situation. When the two of you have a signed separation agreement, you’ve entered into the only kind of contract spouses can enter with one another under Ohio law. Although the separation agreement is often filed with a court in a divorce or dissolution, it doesn’t need to be in order for the two of you to abide by its terms – but it does need to be filed and adopted by the court in order to actually change your marital status.
It’s important for you, your spouse and your lawyer to determine where your separation lies.
2. Show Me the Money
Possibly the hottest button issue– finances should be sorted. During a separation, there will undoubtedly be a shift in the way finances are handled. Issues like long-term asset division will be handled eventually but bills, childcare, debt, etc., will likely need to be addressed immediately.
Your divorce lawyer can help you mediate and work towards assigning payment responsibilities before the divorce is final, making your life easier in the long run. If you need child or spousal support, this aspect needs to be addressed right away, as well.
3. Responsibility, what’s that?
Everyday responsibilities that come with a marriage and family will need to be attended to during this time. Who takes the pet for its vet appointment? Who is picking up the children from school or daycare? What about mortgage payments and insurance? Your divorce lawyer can help resolve many of these issues during this interim separation.
4. Decide to Dissolve the Marriage
It can be difficult to make unemotional or unbiased decisions about the steps that must be taken after separating. Talking with your divorce lawyer can help give you some perspective, as it is informed and rooted in behaviors they’ve seen in their time practicing their craft. For example, if communication is nonexistent in your separation, if narcissism is involved, if problems go unresolved, then the risk for divorce can be high. Further, if you and your divorce lawyer cannot reason or come to conclusions with the other party, it may be in everyone’s best interest to ask the court for temporary orders during the span of the divorce process.
Has your partner asked for a separation? Schedule a consultation today with respected Columbus divorce lawyers with more than 50 years combined experience, Babbitt & Dahlberg.