Why all the paperwork? We just want a divorce!
“Do we really have to do all this paperwork? We have everything figured out can’t you just write it?”
A couple’s journey to divorce is often long. But when couples finally decide they want it done NOW. The paperwork and discussions become huge obstacles to getting the divorce over.
Yet, each form, each question, each conversation is designed to protect clients. And, to create a better life post-divorce. Here’s how:
Most couples want a general plan for who will care for the children when. They often balk when asked for specifics.
- Do we really have to say drop-off and pick-up times?
- Do we really have to talk about which holidays we will have the kids?
- Why are we spending so much time on this we’ll make it work?
Understandably, parents wonder why they should spend time, energy, (and money) for a mediator to walk them through the details of a parenting plan. Parents feel they will just figure it out.
The problem? They are getting a divorce because they often can’t figure decisions out.
More importantly, conflict arises most often because expectations clash. Expectations usually clash because they were never stated.
Well-crafted agreements specify days, times, responsibilities, decision-making processes, and agreements about extended family just to name a few. While parents can always to agree to changes, they start from shared expectations. Their written document also offers a reference should either parent be confused. This avoids conflict and eases parents into sharing roles.
Divorce dramatically affects finances. Agreements shape responsibility for debts and access to assets. Good agreements detail everything so that couples know exactly what they will be held responsible to receive and to pay.
Good information creates solid agreements. So, couples will need to gather information such as:
- bank statements
- credit card statements
- balances due on mortgages, cars, student loans
- amounts in retirement plans, savings, and stocks
All this helps ensure each spouse knows exactly where they stand financially. This allows informed, well-grounded decisions.
Without this information, a husband may offer to take all the credit card debt assuming it’s still the usual $2,000. But, Mom charged $12,000 to set up her new house. She’s done nothing wrong but he would be agreeing to a much higher amount than he thought without knowing the balances. On the other side, couples may not think about end-of-year bonuses as money to be considered either in a property settlement or child support, unless the documents are in front of both.
In short, people don’t know what they don’t know. Gathering information ensures each person is fully aware of all the elements before they make decisions.
Along with knowing debts and assets, completing a detailed budget helps each person better discern if they can live with the proposed property settlement. For example, Husband can’t take all the credit card debt if the payments put his monthly budget underwater. He doesn’t want to be legally liable (with all the penalties for nonpayment that come) unless he knows he can make up the difference.
Divorce forces couples to deal very concretely with their most limited resources time and money. No wonder most want to skim over the details and just get it done. But, taking the time to thoroughly understand the parenting picture and the financial picture matters. Informed agreements reduce future conflicts and set the stage for couples to securely and confidently transition into life after divorce.
For those contemplating divorce, we can help you address the issues, make sound decisions, and transition your family. Please call us at 317-344-9740 or email info@TheResolutionCenterIndy.com with questions or to schedule a free, informational meeting to learn how we would work with you.