Just had a baby — now divorce?

If ever there was a bad time to be thinking that your marriage is on the rocks, it’s right after you’ve delivered a baby.  Add to your level of stress (you know, related to delivery, recovery, post partum, the realities of raising a baby) with the fact that you may or may not be able to make your marriage work the way you always planned, and you’re feeling more than a little overwhelmed.  If ever there was a bad time to be thinking that your marriage is on the rocks, it’s right after you’ve delivered a baby.  Add to your level of stress (you know, related to delivery, recovery, post partum, the realities of raising a baby) with the fact that you may or may not be able to make your marriage work the way you always planned, and you’re feeling more than a little overwhelmed.

Trust me, I get it.  In fact, I just had a baby, too.  I’m actually out on maternity leave as I write this, so I can tell you that the feelings that you’re feeling are at the forefront of my mind right now.  Unlike you, though, I know a little bit about divorce—enough, I think, to make you feel a little bit better about what you may be about to experience. There’s no question that divorce is difficult, but it’s not the end of the world, either.  It may not be ideal, but it isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen.  Take a deep breath.  It’s going to be fine.   You’re worried, and that’s entirely normal.  It’d be weird if you weren’t.

But just because you’re worried doesn’t mean that it’s going to be awful.  Some divorces are, of course—we’ve all heard the horror stories.  But, most of the time, it’s uncomfortable, but not terrible.  It’s kind of like doing your taxes; no one wants to, but it’s one of those things you have to do anyway.  And, when you’re done, you wonder what the fuss was all about.  And divorces have one major advantage that filing taxes never will: after you’re done, you get your freedom.

So, if you’ve just had a baby and you’re thinking that you might be headed towards divorce, follow these steps to make sure that you’re on the right path.  Whether you and your husband actually do separate, or whether you’re able to save your marriage, you’ll be in the best position possible if you have the information you need to make the decisions you’ll need to make over the coming days, weeks, and months.

1. Request a free copy of our divorce book.

Whether you’re military or not (LINKS), we’ve got a book just for you.  It explains the divorce process, what to expect, how assets are divided, and more.  You’ll also get a list of questions to ask your attorney, just in case you decide to hire one, and learn all about the different options available to you.

The book is free, and it was written for you by our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce attorneys.  You can request a copy online, and you’ll receive a downloadable e-book version delivered straight to your email inbox right away.  If you live in our immediate area, you’ll be given the option to receive a hard copy of the book, too (you’ll just need to fill out a little more information, with your address and all, so that we know where to send it).  If you want the hard copy, we’ll send it to you at the spouse safe address you’ve provided (feel free to provide a work address, a friend’s address, or a family member’s address if your home address isn’t spouse safe); we’ll send it in a plain, yellow, unmarked envelope, so that no one (not even the mailman) will know what’s inside.You’ll also be given the option to opt in to our divorce e-course, if you’d like, which is full of more tips and tricks (all written for you by our divorce attorneys) you’ll want to know as you begin to prepare for the steps you may be taking.

2. Read up on custody, too, in our free custody book.

Obviously, custody is also an issue; you’ve just given birth!  That doesn’t mean that it’ll be a knock down, drag out fight, though.  Most of the time, custody is something that mom and dad ultimately agree on; less often it’s something that is fought out in a courtroom.  Though you could wind up in a courtroom, it’s hard to say at this point.You’ll want to know as much as you can about how custody works—and that starts with the vocabulary of custody.  What is shared custody, primary physical custody, and split custody?  What is the difference between physical and legal custody?  Can you get sole custody?  What happens in cases where there are special issues—like a special needs child, you’re committed to homeschooling, you and your spouse are same sex parents, or something else?  What does the law have to say about custody, and what factors will a judge consider if he has to make a decision?The answers to all these questions (and more!) will be found in our custody book, written by Kristen Hofheimer.

It’s free, and we’ll send you an e-copy immediately; likewise, if you live in our immediate area, you’ll have the option to have a hard copy sent to you.  You’ll also have the option to participate in our custody e-course, too.

3. Attend our monthly divorce seminar.

Once you’ve gotten all the information you can out of our free books, it’s time to come in for a seminar.  The seminars are great, because they’re an opportunity to learn all about the process of divorce directly from one of our attorneys.  Even better, you’ll have a chance to ask your questions to the attorney without paying the cost of a consult.  Of course, it’s not one on one (hence the fact that it’s a seminar), but that’s often really awesome, too.  When you haven’t been through something before, you don’t know what you don’t know—so it can be hard to know the questions you should be asking.  We find that, in a seminar atmosphere, most people want to know the answers to the same questions, and once the dialogue is flowing, things start to move better.For more information about our seminar, or to register to attend (for a $10 discount!), click here.

4. Come in for a consultation.

I know, I know.  You don’t want to come in.  That makes everything too real.  Right?  Well, once you’ve gotten the books and attended a seminar, coming in for a consultation is your next big step.  Next, you need one on one information about your unique case.  You need to talk to an attorney about what a case strategy would look like for you, what you’d like, and what your options are.  How to get from A-Z, basically.  Coming in for a consultation is NOT like opening Pandora’s Box.

We’re not going to push you in any particular direction; we’re just here to provide you with the information you need to make big decisions.  Whether you end your marriage or save it, the choice is yours; we just want to make sure you know all the facts and options available to you.  It’s not scary.  We’re nice.  And we know where you’re coming from, many of us having been in at least some part of your shoes ourselves.  Many of us have had kids or divorced (or both had kids and divorced), and we can understand how you’re feeling.  We’re here to help, and we’re happy to help you figure out what your next steps should be—whether or not you hire us.

Come in for a consultation.  You won’t be sorry.There’s no question that you’re going through a lot.  Having a baby isn’t easy under the best of circumstances, but worrying about divorce on top of it all can be crippling.  To feel better, you’ll need to gather the information about divorce in Virginia so that you know how to begin to move forward.  For more information about our books or seminars, give our office a call at (757) 425-5200.

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