Starting Over After Divorce: How to Properly Reinvent Yourself

Divorce is not high on anyone’s list of great things. No one enters into marriage planning for a divorce a few years down the line. 

But if you are facing this significant life event, know that you are not alone.

Over 800,000 people get divorced each year in the US.

Many of them have, by necessity, learned how to reinvent themselves properly, and define a new normal, and you can too!

Here are some great tips for starting over after divorce.

Permit Yourself to Grieve

Divorce is different than losing a spouse to death. However, even if you wanted the divorce, you may find yourself experiencing feelings of grief.

This feeling is normal, and you need to permit yourself to grieve. No person has died, but the death of an intimate relationship often feels very similar. 

You have to let yourself feel and sort through those feelings. Do not dwell on the past or what you should or should not have done. But do recognize how you feel and allow yourself to work through that. 

You may wish to spend a few sessions with a counselor. Remember, this does not mean that you have a problem, it is merely a healthy way of dealing with how you feel.

Learn to Be Alone

We do not expect that you should be anti-social and cut yourself off from the world. Instead, do not be in a rush to enter another relationship.

Some people are hasty to jump into a new relationship immediately after their marriage dissolves. This search for partnership may not be a good idea. You need to give yourself time to learn to be alone.

You need time to figure out who you are as a single person. It is a strange feeling going from being a ‘we’ to a ‘me.’ You need time to process that. 

It is okay to date casually, a good idea even to have fun and relax. But do not get too serious too soon.

Discover Yourself

The advantage of being alone is that you have the chance to figure out who you are without the constraints of a relationship. Try a new hobby, learn a new skill, take that dream vacation you have always wanted to go on. 

Maybe you have secretly wanted to go back to school or take a few courses to further your career. Now is the perfect time to do that!

Embrace Your New Life and Have Fun

Permit yourself to enjoy life. Sometimes after a divorce, people feel guilty for feeling free. Or perhaps they spend a lot of time shrouded in regrets or thinking about the past.

Do not get caught up in that trap. Learn from your mistakes and try not to make the same ones again. But then move on. Focus instead on the road in front of you and the many positives about your situation.

Starting Over After Divorce Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

When the divorce papers are signed, and all is said and done, starting over after divorce can seem intimidating. But if you view it as an opportunity to embrace a new you this fresh start does not have to be scary. 

If you are still in the midst of your divorce, you will need help getting all the legalities taken care of. Feel free to contact us to help you settle things and start working towards your new life. 

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

5 Important Things to Bring to a Divorce Consultation

Nearly 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Perhaps one of the ways you can view this shocking statistic is that if you’re going through a divorce yourself, you are not alone in your experience!

Still, knowing that you are not a trailblazer does not make the process any more comfortable for most, especially when there is no “rulebook” or “guide” to walk you through the process (there are lawyers though..)

When we start talking about bringing lawyers into your divorce discussions, we want to make sure you have a baseline understanding of what to ask (us or others).

We’ve put together a quick list of essential things to bring with you to any consultation.

Read on.

1. Bring A List of Prepared Questions 

Going through a divorce is an emotional process, but don’t let yourself mistake a divorce consultation for a therapy session. Remember, this is a time to ask legal questions and get answers you cannot find from other people.

Before you head to your divorce consultation, write down at least five questions on a piece of paper or your phone. These might vary based on your situation, but they can include asking about the lawyer’s experience, how much they charge, and what you can expect.

Do not make the mistake of “remembering them in your head.” Odds are you will get caught up in the consultation and forget at least one of your questions.

2. Bring Real Estate Information to Your Divorce Consultation

Make sure you bring along any information about the property you and your partner own. You’ll want to grab things like your escrow papers, mortgage statements, and deeds.

Do this for every property you have owned together. That includes properties you owned in the past, even if you are not currently living there.

3. Bring Relevant Legal Documents to Your Divorce Consultation

Throughout the length of your marriage, you might have gathered a large amount of legal paperwork. You should bring as many of these relevant documents as you can remember.

The most important documents include the following:

  • Separation agreements
  • Social security cards, passports, and other identifying information for you and your children
  • Your children’s birth certificates
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Any other documents from legal proceedings regarding your partner or children

Reviewing these legal documents will allow your lawyer to better understand your situation during the divorce. They will also help your lawyer construct an estimated timeline of the divorce proceedings.

4. Bring Pay Stubs and Tax Returns to Your Divorce Consultation

Your lawyer will want to know how much money you and your spouse make for the household. To give them a good idea of how your income breaks out, bring the three most recent paystubs from both you and your partner if possible.

You should also bring your most recent tax returns as well. These returns will give your lawyer a better idea of the annual income. 

If you have to choose one of these due to discretion or lack of being able to locate them, pick the tax returns.

5. Bring Incriminating Evidence (If You Have It) to Your Divorce Consultation

You might not have any incriminating evidence, but if you do, make sure you bring it along. This evidence might include photos, videos, notes/messages, or social media posts relating to the divorce. This evidence might be proof of things like cheating or abuse.

Getting a Divorce Consultation

Make sure you go into your divorce consultation with an open mind. You might want to get certain things out of the divorce, but you might not get them all. Instead, make sure you listen to your lawyer’s expert advice.

Are you in the middle of a painful divorce?

Make sure you check out some of our legal services and see how we can help you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Is There a Good Time to Get a Divorce with Young Children?

You’ve probably heard that 50% of all marriages end in divorce, but did you know that 66% of all divorced couples in America are childless?

Does that mean that couples with children work harder to keep their family together?

Maybe, but 40% of such couples still end up divorcing.

Besides the financial considerations and legal issues, divorce is complicated, especially when kids are involved.

If you find yourself in a failing marriage and are ready to file for divorce, timing can be everything.

Is there a right time to get a divorce? We’ll explore that question in this guide to getting a divorce with young children.

Divorce with Young Children

Clients often ask if there is a right time to divorce with young kids. While it would be ideal if there were a magical age where kids are less affected by a divorce, there are many factors that surround the decision to file or wait to divorce.

Worst Age for Divorce for Children

Because young, preschool-age children depend on their parents for so much of their care during this time, the effects of divorce on this age group can be long-lasting.

Not having another adult in the home means all of the responsibilities fall on the newly single parent. A young child will realize that you no longer have the same amount of time or energy for the usual routine.

If you are not in a violent or high conflict marriage, it may be best to wait until your youngest child is in school before divorcing.

Once your child has friends and is gaining some independence, the disruption of divorce will not be as difficult to handle.

Early Adolescence

As if early adolescence is not a tough enough time in a kid’s life, adding a parents’ divorce into the mix can throw them into a tailspin.

If your preteen or young teenager is going through some developmental issues or failing in school or falling in with the wrong crowd, it could be in your best interest to hold off on filing for divorce if at all possible

*Note: Each situation (young kids to teenagers) warrants its own examination, however. Again, there is no magic 8-ball to say this age is any worse than another.

Custody in a Divorce with Young Children

A divorce with young children also has a custody component. Each state has different laws regarding custody of minor children.

In South Carolina, for example, there is no automatic legal right to custody for either parent. The judge will order a custody arrangement that has the best interests of the child in mind.

There are financial obligations coupled with custody agreements. A parent may be ordered to pay child support for many years depending on the type of custody arrangement.

Is There a Best Way to Get a Divorce?

There is no easy answer here. If your marriage is difficult on everyone, it is probably best to end it as soon as possible.

If your children are at vulnerable ages and you and your spouse can keep it together to protect them, that may be the better choice in the long run.

We help with divorces with young children and provide support for many other aspects of family law. Contact us with your questions.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Everything You Need to Know About Alimony in SC

Are you going through a divorce in South Carolina?

Have you been divorced in South Carolina?

If you said yes to either of these questions, you’ll have considered the possibility of alimony.

If you were providing financial support during the marriage, you might have to continue to do so.

In this post, we will explain how alimony in SC works.

All About Alimony in SC

Confused about all the legal jargon and complications surrounding alimony? Read our quick, handy guide.

How Much is it?

There is no definitive formula for calculating how much alimony should be.

The amount is decided by a judge and is dependent on several factors. These can include the length of your marriage, the earning ability of each spouse, assets, health conditions, and who was at fault for the divorce.

When is Alimony Paid?

The typical alimony payment occurs on an ongoing monthly basis. However, it may also be paid in a lump sum, or in other installments.

In some cases, rehabilitative alimony is paid for a certain period of time. This alimony structure is often prescribed in cases where a spouse needs to gain skills or education in order to increase their earning potential.

Once the necessary courses or training programs required in the rehabilitative alimony decision have been completed, this kind of alimony stops.

Who Pays Alimony?

Alimony is paid to the spouse who was supported financially during the marriage. It’s usually received by the spouse who has child custody, especially if they are not expected to work full-time.

Most commonly, women are the recipients. Only 3% of people who receive alimony are men.

Marital misconduct can affect the outcome of a case. For example, if a spouse commits adultery, they’re not eligible to receive alimony under South Carolina law.

How Long is Alimony Paid for?

Alimony is usually paid until a spouse remarries or cohabits with a new partner for 90 days or more. In some cases, a spouse can receive alimony for the rest of their life.

Is Alimony Fixed?

Alimony agreements are not set in stone.

There are certain situations which are causes for alimony modification. For example, if the provider’s financial situation changes for the worse, they can request for the amount to be decreased. Likewise, the recipient can request an increase if they find themselves in financial difficulty.

If a judge decides that alimony is no longer necessary, it can also be stopped altogether.

Changes can be permanent or temporary. Either way, they need to be approved by a judge.

Is Alimony Taxed?

Those who receive alimony must pay tax on it, and include it in their income when filing their taxes.

Alimony is tax deductible for providers. However, this is due to change for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018.

Read the IRS guidelines for alimony for more details on tax and alimony.

Ask the Experts

When you are going through a divorce, it is essential that you have an attorney on your side.

At Indigo Family Law, we are experts in alimony in SC. We will guide you through the legal process, advise you on the best course of action, and fight for your rights in the courtroom to make sure you get the best possible outcome.

To see how we can help you, contact us for a consultation.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

5 Important Questions to Consider Before Deciding to Divorce

Deciding to get a divorce is a big decision. But it is one that about one-third of couples will make at some point in their marriage.

If you are facing this weighty decision, here are five questions you should first ask yourself.

1. What Are Your Expectations for Your Spouse?

Many marital conflicts arise because of unvoiced (or unrealized) expectations. Every person enters marriage with an idea of what their spouse’s role should be as well as their own role.  

For example, her mom did all the laundry, and her dad worked on the car, so that is her expectation going into the marriage; she does the inside chores, and he works on the cars. However, he does not know anything about cars and expects her to be able to handle her own car troubles.

This example is simplistic, but simple and yet uneven expectations are a common reason for marital problems. With good communication, these barriers and expectation gaps can sometimes be resolved.

2. Have You Done Everything You Can?

Once all is said and done, many divorcees begin to ask themselves if they did all they could. Rushing into divorce is sometimes a bad idea. 

Sit down and try to communicate, if possible. Go to counseling, or try to. Pray about your thoughts if you’re so inclined. Talk to a pastor or someone you sincerely trust not to share your thoughts with others. In short, exhaust all your options first.

If you do not go through at least some of these steps, you may look back and wonder if you made the right decision. You do not need that hanging over you, especially, when your kids ask hard questions regarding why you got divorced.

3. What About the Kids?

You should also consider your children. Divorce is a big deal to them and will undoubtedly affect their lives. You need to fully consider whether divorcing your spouse would be better for them.

In many cases, it is. Are you always at odds and having screaming matches with each other? Are you or your children in danger? If you really cannot work it out, that negatively affects your kids, perhaps more than a divorce would.

4. How Will It Affect You Financially?

Everyone’s financial situation is different. Thus, how a divorce will affect your finances varies quite a bit.

However, for many couples, divorcing is expensive and financially stressful. The earlier you prepare yourself, the easier the transition will be. Who knows? The time it takes you to save enough for a proper divorce might be the time you and your spouse need to work things out.

5. Would You Really Be Happier After Deciding to Divorce?

Many times people choose to end their marriages in a fit of exasperation. They’ve lived so long in a frustrating cycle and believe that a divorce is the only way to break it.

Astonishingly, over 50% of divorcees wish they had not ended their marriages.

Do not be one of them. Sit down and seriously consider if you would be happier without your spouse. You might think so now when you are frustrated, but once they are gone, you might realize how much of a hole their absence leaves in your life.

Is Divorce the Answer?

Take some time to consider these questions carefully. Do you still think deciding to divorce is the correct course of action? If so, you are going to need help to go about it the right way and secure your future.

Contact us today for a consultation. We can help you with the legal side of getting a divorce.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Divorce Planning: What You Can Do to Prepare for a Divorce

The good news is, divorce rates aren’t as high as they used to be. The bad news is, divorce is still happening.

Divorce is never an easy thing, whether both parties are peacefully agreeing to it or not. One of the most complicated parts about divorce is that it can not only affect the two spouses, but it also has an effect on children and other close members of the family.

When you are in a marriage but preparing for a divorce, there are a handful of steps to take to make the process a little easier on everyone. There are things you can do to help the legal, financial, and mental processing.

Keep reading to discover ways to prepare in the midst of divorce planning. There’s sure to be something to help you along the way.

Mentally Prepare for Divorce

It’s no surprise divorce planning can take a toll on your mental health. You worry about law processes, splitting assets, and leaving someone who used to be your best friend.

One of the best ways to prepare is to put yourself in a good mental space. Look into seeing a therapist a few times a month. Talk out your frustrations to someone who has no bias.

Whenever there are arguments during the divorce process, have a healthy escape or a hobby to turn to. Pick up an old passion or practice learning a new one to get your mind off things for a bit.

Prepare Your Kids for Divorce

Divorce planning is much more stressful if you have children to worry about. No matter how young or old they are, it’s important to support your family through divorce.

While this task seems daunting, it can be as simple as checking in nightly to see how your children’s days went. Make sure to explain to them they are not the cause of the divorce and speak with your spouse to make sure they are also present during times of support.

It’s also likely you will have to reach a custody agreement with your spouse. No matter what custody agreement you choose during the divorce planning, take time to explain the changes to your children and be open to any questions and concerns they have.

Take time to sit down and create a parenting plan with your spouse. If needed, hire a mediator.

Plan Financially for Post-Divorce

One important way to prepare for a divorce is to protect assets before a divorce. Whether this means large pieces of furniture or the plates you bought together, take time to talk it out.

Make sure to also start working through taxes and finances, and open a separate bank account to build up your own savings. Your financial situation may be tough after the divorce so prepare now.

The sooner you start making yourself financially independent, the better. Becoming financially independent will also give you a sense of pride and confidence to help you through the divorce planning.

Divorce Planning Made Easier

To make divorce planning a tad easier on yourself and everyone else, read the tips above. A little help can go a long way.

Make sure to prepare yourself mentally through things like therapy or new passions. Talk with your kids and prepare them for new changes. Lastly, start organizing your finances.

If you have any questions on divorce, adoption, or any other law processes, check out the rest of our site.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Amicable Divorces: 6 More Tips for Supporting Your Family Through Divorce

Amicable Divorces: 6 More Tips for Supporting Your Family Through Divorce

You do not think you are ever going to get a divorce when you get married. 

Unfortunately, the reality is that 40-50% of couples in the United States do get divorced! 

Many of these couples have children that can be negatively impacted by the process. 

How can you support your family through a divorce? 

Last month we wrote 10 Tips for Supporting Your Family Through Divorce.  It was so popular, we added 6 more!

The best answer is that no matter what the circumstances are, keep it amicable.

Follow Divorce Laws

Above all else, make sure you are following South Carolina divorce laws.  Believe us in this.. it will cause less stress.  Of course, following the laws means knowing the laws.  In this, you should seek to work with a partner (contact us) that will walk you through this challenging time step-by-step.

Try Not To Play the Blame Game In Front of Family

It does not matter who is at fault in the long run.  Blaming your soon to be ex-spouse is not the way to keep your divorce amicable, especially in front of your family.  You can imagine, going at your spouse for their wrongdoings could cause a lot of anxiety if you have children.  If you don’t, you may inadvertently cause your soon to be ex-spouse to dig in their heels and fight you every step of the divorce.

Focus on the long game here.   You’re only going to win in the end by getting separation from a bad situation.

Focus on the Big Picture

Before you go into mediation or start your divorce hearing, make a list of what is important to you – your needs, wants, and what is non-negotiable for you.  Also, think about how you want your parenting plan to be set up.  Remember to pick your battles and not fight over every little thing.  Doing so will cause tension and can draw out the divorce process a lot longer than if you choose what to fight over.

Negotiate Truthfully

When negotiating the terms of your divorce, do not hide assets or lie about your income.  Being completely truthful will help the process and keep tension from rising.  Another reason to be truthful is that in most cases one spouse has more knowledge of the household finances and bills.  This allows both people to know what is happening.  Being truthful helps the divorce to be transparent and can help each of you trust each other which will lead to an amicable divorce.

Put Children First

If you have children, they are the most important people in a divorce.  They need to know that both of their parents will still be there for them, that they love them, and that it is not their fault that this is happening.  You should also make an effort not to speak overly negatively of their other parent.  Do your children need to be brought into your challenges?

Using a mediator can help you when deciding what you both want for your children.  It is important to set up a parenting plan that you both feel comfortable with and that you can agree to co-parent your children even though you will no longer be married.

Divorce is Not War

Getting a divorce does not have to financially or emotionally drain you.  If you truthfully disclose information and documents, have mutual cooperation, and attempt a reasonable compromise, you can have an amicable divorce.

If you are in the process of getting a divorce or are thinking about filing for divorce, contact us today so we can help you!

Do You Need Help With Your Divorce Today?

Yes, This is Stressing Me Out!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

What’s the Difference Between Legal Separation & Divorce?

Legal Separation in South Carolina

You and your spouse have decided that you no longer can live together, but you are unsure about the way forward.

Legal separation?  Divorce?  You do not know what the difference is or how to do either.

In this article, we briefly talk about each of them and help you better understand the way forward.

Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce

There are three main differences between a legal separation and a divorce.

  1. No waiting period: When you get a divorce, there is a waiting period before the court can grant a divorce. You do not have to wait a year to get a decree of legal separation.
  2. Ability to remarry: Unlike with divorce, when you are legally separated, you cannot remarry. You probably should not even date, in fact.  Being legally separated does not dissolve your marriage, and it is illegal to be married to more than one person in any state.
  3. Insurance: If you are legally separated, you can remain on each other’s employer-sponsored health insurance. Again being legally separated, you are still considered legally married.

More About Legal Separation in South Carolina

In South Carolina, there technically is no such thing as a “Legal Separation,” at least by that term.  Instead, the idea that best fits what most think about as a legal separation are Orders of Separate Maintenance and Support.  These orders cover specific issues of interest to both spouses including child custody concerns as well as shared assets and debts.

To establish Orders of Separate Maintenance and Support you should work with an attorney to help you frame and if necessary negotiate the different pieces, you will need to be covered within them.  Contentious issues can be ruled upon through mediation or trial.

When the orders become effective, you are still married.  This is important to recognize as you might complicate the whole separation and divorce if you choose to date someone else while you’re still married.  You should reach out to your attorney to discuss these risks.

About Divorce in South Carolina

When you file for and get a divorce, you are dissolving your marriage. In South Carolina, the process for your divorce, and in particular the legal requirements for divorce, are dependent upon several factors, including fault and contention.  If you need more information about how you should proceed with a divorce, please contact our team today!

I Need to Talk to a Divorce Attorney Today

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How Do You Choose a Divorce Lawyer?

How Do You Choose a Divorce Lawyer?

Getting divorced will likely be very emotional and stressful.  Even if you are only considering it, the stress of finding a good divorce lawyer to help and advise you can be daunting.

Obviously, trust and discretion are important factors, but so are results. 

How do you choose a divorce lawyer when there are so many choices?

Search Engines

Being that this is the internet, after all, the best place to start looking for a divorce lawyer is your favorite search engine.  Here are some tips for using search engines to compare

You can use Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other search engine you prefer.  When you type in “divorce lawyer near me,” you will get a map with your search results showing the divorce lawyers near the city or zip code you use along with a list of search results.

When you click on the name of one of the divorce lawyers, it will take you to a page that lists their contact information, reviews, pictures, directions, and most of the time a link to their website. If there is a link to their website, you can go there and do a little more research.

Make a list of a few lawyers that stand out to you.  Visit their website, read their blog, get a feel for how they market themselves.

Once you have a list of lawyers, call and set up a consultation or use the request form on their website if they have one.  Most divorce lawyers have some sort of a free consultation or information they can provide to you.

Talk to a Divorce Lawyer Today

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Seek Recommendations

If you have a friend, family member, or coworker who has gone through a divorce, you can ask them about whom they used.  Speaking with someone you trust can help you decide based on their thoughts on the divorce lawyer.

Again, call and set up a consultation.  Having a consultation will give you a feel for the divorce lawyer and if they can help usher you through the challenges ahead!

Use AVVO, NOLO, or FindLaw

Some websites specialize in helping you find the right lawyer for your needs.

AVVO – AVVO has a spot for you to choose the area of law and city and state.  You can also search by just state or city and state.   Once you click on Find Lawyers, you will get a list of divorce lawyers in the city and state you chose.  The listing will give you the name of the divorce lawyer, the phone number, reviews, and give you a link to their website.

NOLO – NOLO is very similar to AVVO.  You choose the area of practice, then which state you want.  You can then browse through all the lawyers in your state, or you can narrow it down to a specific city.  Your search results will list the lawyers’ name and contact information.  You can also click a link to be taken to their profile or to contact them.

FindLaw – FindLaw again allows you choose your legal issue and location. The results list will give you the law firm name, contact information, and a link to their website.

* These websites get paid by attorneys to provide leads.  This means that it is not an exhaustive list of great attorneys, but for some, it is a good place to get information and referrals!

How to Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer

After you have done your research and found a divorce lawyer you think you want to work with, call them and set up a consultation.

Here are questions to ask the divorce lawyer at your consultation.

  • Experience: How much experience do they have working on divorces?  In your state? 
  • Rates: Ask how much they charge to represent clients.
  • Resources: Do they have access to financial experts, parenting coordinators, and other professionals? If they need to use any for your case, will it affect the cost?
  • Assistant: Typically, the divorce lawyer will not be handling all day-to-day issues relating to your case. Ask to meet whoever assists them.

Also, listen to your instincts.  If you do not feel like the divorce lawyer you are meeting with does not fit your needs, then do not use them.

A good divorce lawyer will take the time to listen to you, not use lawyer speak that you cannot understand, and make you feel at ease.