Arizona law gives equal treatment to men and women in divorce, but as a man, you may have some specific concerns on your mind such as child custody, parenting time, finances, and more. How do you prepare yourself for an oncoming divorce and your potential post-divorce life? Here are some essential tips based on our real-world experience as Arizona divorce lawyers.
Know the Arizona Divorce Process
Whether you are the one initiating the divorce or the one being served the papers, it’s important that you are aware of how divorce proceedings go. There are various kinds of requirements – residency, documents and paperwork, seminars, court dates, etc. – and most of these have deadlines. Know all that are required of you, where you’re supposed to submit them, and the time period you have.
In addition, there are a number of paths that your divorce may take: it can be uncontested, mediated, or litigated. Each option has pros and cons, so you’ll want to research on which one might work best for you and your family.
Protect Your Assets
As soon as you can, take concrete steps to safeguard your finances and property. These become vulnerable during divorce, as they could be divided during property distribution and could also become basis for potential spousal support or child support obligations.
The first step here is to get organized. Make an inventory of all your assets and debts so you have a clear idea of your financial situation. Also gather all documents relevant to your assets and debts, as you may need to furnish copies of these during the divorce proceedings.
Determine your legal options to protect your money and property. A common practice is to open a new bank account for your personal savings to prevent your spouse from accessing them or somehow involving them in property division. It is smart to seek the advice of accountants, tax experts, or asset management experts to know about other legal mechanisms that can shield your finances from divorce issues.
Last but not least, ensure the safekeeping of items that could be physically taken from you. Sometimes, spouses get too angry or desperate during divorce that they try to destroy their partner’s possessions. If you have valuables such as jewelry, family heirlooms, and collectibles, put them in a secure place that your spouse cannot access.
Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Child
If you are a divorcing father who hopes to maintain a healthy relationship with your child post-divorce, it would be most ideal if you already have a longstanding bond with your little one. The longer you have been a consistent presence in your child’s life, the better your chances are for a favorable custody decision from the court.
There are other ways to strengthen your parent-child relationship as your divorce approaches:
- As much as possible, practice co-parenting with the child’s mother. Actively share parental responsibilities and be visible for your child.
- Help preserve the child’s routines so they keep some sense of stability through the tumultuous period of divorce.
- Avoid talking negatively about the other parent or making your child choose between parents. This would only create confusion for the child. It could also backfire on you if it was found that you were speaking ill of your ex-spouse behind her back.
- Most importantly, provide emotional support to your child throughout the divorce. Open communication is key here. Have a conversation with your child, letting them know they can talk to you about anything and that you are open to answering questions about the divorce. Acknowledge their feelings and reassure them that you will still be their dad after the divorce is over.
Be Ready for Custody
If you wish to have custody of your child, you must show the court you are well-prepared for it. Aside from the parenting tips above, you’ll also want to prepare financially and physically.
Make a budget for regular child-related expenses such as food, education, clothing, health, and recreation. Prepare a suitable space in your house for your child to sleep and study in. Familiarize yourself with the young one’s routines and activities, and determine how you can incorporate them into your own day-to-day life. Consider possible driving routes from your house to their school, their extra-curriculars, their friends’ homes, and the like.
Have an Emotional Support System
It is a common stereotype that women are more emotionally expressive, hence they can easily get the support of their friends and family. Meanwhile, men are expected to be tough and unemotional. These stereotypes should not stop you from reaching out to trusted loved ones when you need to. Divorce can get overwhelming for anyone regardless of gender, and it’s completely understandable for you to need a listening ear at some point. Seek the presence of loved ones who are healthy influences in your life.
Protect your Digital Privacy
Many couples share access to computers and online accounts. Even if you don’t think you’ve shared your passwords with your spouse, it is still wise to change them early on in the divorce. Also make sure you’re logged out of all devices that your spouse may have access to.
Additionally, review your online presence for anything that could be used against you. Check your social media profiles, blog, or any other online space where you’ve shared your thoughts. Google your name to see if you’ve been mentioned on other websites. If anything comes up that may be damaging to your case, talk to an attorney immediately.
Try to Remain Amicable with Your Spouse.
If both spouses are civil with each other during divorce, the whole process can be peaceful and quick, with the least emotional impact on everyone involved. Arguments are normal, but instead of prolonging bitter fights, both spouses may try to discuss mutually acceptable ways to proceed with their marriage dissolution. They may hire a mediator to facilitate discussions.
Note, however, that spouses who received abuse or violence from their partners are not expected to be cordial with their abusers during divorce.
Talk to a Lawyer
While some Arizonians opt for a do-it-yourself divorce, it is valuable to have the legal guidance of an experienced attorney. Family Law issues are rarely simple in reality – delicate familial bonds are at stake, and the numerous rules can quickly become a legal maze. Thus, even if you’re not planning to hire a lawyer, at the very least, consult with a divorce attorney to get a solid legal viewpoint on your situation.
Don’t delay your lawyer consultation. Early action makes you much less vulnerable to undesired divorce outcomes.
In Arizona, contact us at Goldman Law. We are highly experienced Family Law attorneys who have protected the rights and interests of many men during their divorce. We’re ready to listen and provide case-specific guidance in your case. Call our office at (602) 698-5520 today.