Type in the words “Valentine’s Day” and “divorce” next to each other, and you’ll get a sense of how much pressure the holiday places on people to not only be in relationships, but to feel happy and fulfilled in them. One article, on celebrating Valentine’s Day after divorce, advises people not to plan a first or second date on Valentine’s Day because “it’s too much pressure,” or to avoid places where affectionate couples might congregate.
And yet, there’s something about the holiday that also helps people who are in unhappy relationships realize that they might need to seek divorce. One Michigan lawyer, for the second year in a row, created a contest for state residents where he offered one “lucky winner” a free divorce. The period around Valentine’s Day remains one of the busiest times of the year for family lawyers, and in some parts of the United States — in part, because of the recovering economy — divorce is on the rise because, as one article put it, “More and more spouses now have the financial freedom to make a break.”
If you’re contemplating divorce now that Valentine’s Day has come and gone, a checklist can help you go into the process with the kind of measured, principled frame of mind you need. Divorce obviously has the potential to be one of the most emotionally difficult times of your life, but it’s also a legal process that can have a long-lasting impact on your finances. This checklist, from veteran Texas collaborative lawyer Dick Price, is a good place to start.
In interviewing a family lawyer, you should know what types of divorces he or she should do. If you’re looking for a collaborative divorce, you want a lawyer who is specifically trained in and experienced in collaborative law — and, if you want a collaborative divorce but your spouse doesn’t, you want to make sure that your lawyer is willing to represent you in a traditional courtroom divorce, as well as what he or she can do to help negotiate a settlement before you reach the courtroom.