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Divorcing in the new year? Here are a few things you should know

More people file divorce papers in January than any other month. Many of these people have no idea what to expect, and every situation is different. However, there are a few things that are true for everyone.

First, the more things you try to hold onto, the harder it will be to truly move on. Often couples end up fighting over items just to "win" over the other person. While it is important that you and your attorneys work to ensure that you get the money and assets to which you are entitled, choose your battles. You probably should get a share of the boat, but do you really need that sofa you never liked?

Second, learn how to work with your attorneys to make sure that your wishes are heard, and that you understand what's happening. Divorce is often the first experience people have dealing with lawyers, and they may be intimidated by the process. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your attorneys or to stop them if they are speaking "legalese." Good attorneys want their clients to understand everything that is going on, and they want their clients to be clear and upfront about what they want so that they can fight for it.

Third, be prepared for your life to change, and not necessarily for the better at first. Living alone, or at least without a spouse, may be healthier emotionally for you. However, at first, it can be an adjustment. Suddenly you are doing things yourself (or hiring people to do them) that you always counted on your spouse to do. Living as a single person is generally more expensive than living as a couple. Be prepared for expenses to increase, and potentially even double. A family law attorney can help you anticipate those added expenses so that they are included in any financial settlement with your spouse.

While your attorney's job is to represent your interests, he or she will also offer advice, due to experience and legal training that you probably don't have. However, remember that you know yourself and your family better than they do. Don't be reticent about questioning advice if you feel it's not in your best interest, or more importantly, that of your children. It's important to work with an attorney with whom you feel comfortable during this time.

Source: Huffington Post, "5 Nuances of Divorce You Need to Know" Kerri Zane, Dec. 26, 2013

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