Expert Advice

Questions to Ask Yourself and Things to Consider Before you Bring up Divorce

1. What are two big questions parents should ask themselves before they start the divorce process?

Have you tried to reconcile? Are you sure you want this? Once you ask for a divorce, even if you stop the process, you may not be able to return to any kind of “normal.”

Have you thought through not only what you will gain (freedom, etc.) but what you will lose (time with your kids, half of your marital assets, income for support)?

2. Any advice on telling your children you’re getting a divorce or separating?

Be on the same page with your soon to be ex about what to say. Less is more. Kids are selfish and they want to know what will happen to them.

1. We love you; this is not anything you did.

2. This is a decision between mom and dad.

3. We tried to stay together but we can’t.

4. We will do everything to keep your life as much the same as we can.

5. If you know more details, say – you’ll stay in the same school, same neighborhood, etc. – but only if you can promise these things.

Avoid finger pointing, blaming, discussion about affairs, and that type of grown-up stuff. Kids only need to know what is happening, and that you can’t get along. They have no need to know the backstory, and most are too young to understand anyway.

3. What does the book talk about?

The book tells stories from real cases about people going through divorce, and how key advice saved them time, money, and grief. The strategic information in the book has to do with mindset, divorce strategy, and how-to’s. Everything from how to evaluate your case for settlement, to hiring a divorce lawyer, to best practices with parenting and divorce. These are the secrets that divorce lawyers don’t have on the internet. This is the guidance I would give my best friend if they were getting divorced.

Here’s a link to the book: www.ijustwanttnisdone.com

and the Amazon link: https://amzn.to/3M0cUui

4. What’s a common question from men/ dads when going through divorce?

Can I get 50/50 parenting time? The better question is, before asking that question, what kind of schedule is best for the children’s needs – and can I commit to that schedule to be there for them? (And the answer is different for everyone based on their circumstances).

5. How can parents put the child first in a custody plan?

Do just that. Put the children first. Be flexible. Instead of focusing on the time spent with each parent (what I call “balance sheet parenting,”) focus on the children’s’ lives and what their needs are. My ex-wife and I signed our plan, and never looked at it again for our 14-year-old youngest son. We let him decide what he wanted to do. Sure enough, once I had a home established, with a nice bedroom for him with clothes and his things, he came over frequently. I also would pick him up from school daily and take him to his MMA gym and get him dinner after, for example, then drop him off at his mom’s home, where he had his mom, the family dogs, and was in his old neighborhood with his friends. If you have a comfortable place for your kids, and you give them freedom to do things with their friends, they will want to be with you. Once they are 18, all bets are off anyway – and they will only see you if they like being around you. Living with this in mind will guide fathers in the right direction.

Written by Raiford Dalton Palmer

Raiford Dalton Palmer is a long-time Illinois attorney and managing shareholder of Chicago-based STG Divorce Law where he concentrates on family law focusing on complex divorce cases, especially those involving high-income earners. His work includes collaborative divorce, mediation, child custody, and post-divorce matters as well as premarital/post-marital agreements. He has successfully won multiple jury and bench trials and managed numerous successful arbitrations and mediations. Raiford has also argued an appeal before the Illinois Appellate Court. He is a frequent lecturer on Illinois divorce law and law firm management topics and is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Collaborative Law Institute. To learn more, visit https://www.ijustwantthisdone.com