It’s not easy, but preparing for divorce ahead of time is key. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been divorced before or whether it’s your first time; whether you’ve got a lot of assets or a lot of debt; whether you’ve got children or not, it’s a humongous transition. Emotionally, physically, and financially, it can be draining—especially if you’re unprepared.
For a lot of women, the biggest fear is of the unknown. Not knowing what to expect. Wondering. Even, in some cases, assuming the worst. Because what’s the worst most of us can imagine? Being homeless. Losing our kids. No money. No rights to anything. He takes it all. Right? Well, good—now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can talk about what divorce is really like, and how you’ll want to begin to prepare.
You won’t lose everything—unless you sign an agreement that says you’ll give up everything. (Seriously: Don’t do that!) Whether we’re talking about a divorce that is litigated in court or a divorce that is negotiated via a separation agreement (for more information on the types of divorce and how it works, click here), people don’t just lose everything. Yes, it’s true—you’ll lose some things. (But you already know that, right? You can’t walk away with it all.) But you’ll walk away with others. And, in Virginia, like in every other state in the country, you have rights. You have rights to the children you bore and the assets you earned. Unless you sign away those rights, no matter what your husband says, you’ve still got them. Armed with the proper tools and information, you can use them, too.
You’re not alone. There are millions of women who have been here before you. You’re not the first person asking these questions. In fact, you’re really smart. I know that already, because you’re here. You’re doing the research and getting the information you need to get to make sure that the first steps you take are good ones. Good for you! That’s going to come in handy later on.
If you’re headed towards divorce and wondering what your first steps should be, you’re in the right place. There’s a lot you can do to prepare for what you’re about to face, and I can help make sure you have the information you need as you begin to move forward.
So, what’s the first step as I begin to prepare for divorce?
Step 1. Order a free copy of our book, “What Every Virginia Woman Needs to Know About Divorce.” (Or, if you or your spouse are in or retired from military service, “What Every Virginia Military Wife Needs to Know About Divorce.”)
These books were written by licensed and experienced Virginia divorce lawyers and custody attorneys, and are chock full of the types of details you need to know to figure out what your next steps should be. From what the different types of divorce are to how a separation agreement works, how to choose your attorney, custody and visitation, support and more—the book has tons of details that you’ll for sure want to know. (If you’re in the military, it’ll also cover military retirement, the survivor benefit plan (SBP),base housing allowance (BAH), the thrift savings plan (TSP), and more!)
Best of all, it’s completely free. You can request a copy online, and you’ll get a digital copy immediately sent to your inbox. If you live in our immediate area, you’ll get an email asking you whether you’d also like to receive a hard copy of the book delivered to your house—or your mom’s house, a neighbor’s house, or a friend’s house. (Don’t worry; we send them in plain, white, unmarked envelopes, so no one will know what’s inside.)
You’ll also get an email asking you whether you’d like to participate in our online divorce e-course, which is full of more tips and tricks (again, all created by one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce and custody attorneys) to help you prepare for what you’re about to experience. There’s no obligation, and no cost to participate in the divorce e-course.
It’s a win-win!
For the last (almost) thirty years, we’ve been teaching seminars on what every Virginia woman needs to know about divorce. (In fact, it’s where the name for the book came from!) We teach them on the Second Saturday of the month (hence the name) in Virginia Beach and Newport News, and on the Third Tuesday of the month in Virginia Beach (except in December, because it’s so close to Christmas!).
Each seminar is taught by one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce attorneys, and you’ll have a chance to ask your questions right then and there, without paying the cost of a consultation.
Each seminar lasts an hour and a half, and it covers important divorce and custody related topics. Want to know something specific? Just raise your hand. (Though, keep in mind that this isn’t a confidential forum; the questions you ask should be general and nature and not case specific—for your own protection.)
The cost to attend the seminar is just $40 if you register ahead, or $50 at the door. We do offer some fee waivers in special circumstances based on severe financial need so, if you’d like to receive one, please have your therapist call our office and request a waiver on your behalf.
For more information about the seminar, including topics covered, and for registration information, visit our website.
Step 3. Go to Girl’s Night Out.
Remember how I said earlier that you aren’t alone, and you’re not the only person who has been through this? Well, it’s totally true. You’ll see for yourself if you join us for one of our Girl’s Night Out events. We host them all the time on both the south side and the peninsula, and, really, they’re just happy hour type get togethers. We provide the food and the drinks, so all you have to do is show up and have a good time.
Actually, you’re just in the nick of time, too. Our next Girl’s Night Out is going to be our holiday party! Last year, we had our group at the Crab Shack in Newport News, and we all wore tacky holiday sweaters. It was so much fun! This year, we’re expecting more of the same, and you should definitely make plans to join us. We’re a very fun, inclusive group, so you won’t feel awkward and, if you’re worried, you’re more than welcome to bring along a (female!) friend or family member, too.
For more information about our upcoming event or to register, click here.
Step 4. Schedule a consultation.
I know, I know. You were probably hoping not to get to this point. But, still, if you’ve read our book and been to the seminar, your next step really is to come in and talk to us. You don’t necessarily have to hire a divorce lawyer if you don’t want to, but you’ll want to make sure you at least get the information you need (like having spousal and child support calculated specifically for you) to figure out how to move forward. Discuss your options and come up with a plan of action moving forward.
If you decide you want to move forward with mediation, collaboration, or you’d really rather just do it yourself, that’s fine, too. We won’t be offended. At the end of the day, we just want to make sure that you’re comfortable with your decision and you’re armed with information.
As far as preparing for divorce goes, if you follow these steps, you’ll be in a better position than 99% of men (and most women, too). For more information or just to talk to someone about your case, give our office a call at (757) 425-5200.