When you’re facing a divorce or custody battle, the last thing you probably want is to be stuck in the house with your soon-to-be-ex – or simply unable to proceed with your divorce as planned. And with lawyers in quarantine too, it might be even more difficult to get that legal ball rolling as quickly as you’d hoped.
A lot of people who are affected by this virus or Stay in Place orders are concerned about going out and hiring a lawyer at this time. Many of them are waiting until things are more financially stable. Others are waiting until our country is more stable so we know and feel a bit more confident about what will happen. But what can you do in the meantime to keep moving forward through your family legal challenges?
Stay Calm and Self-Care
One thing you can do right now that is a good habit to learn, even when you’re going through the actual divorce process is to accept the things out of your control and focus on practicing self-care. Some people like yoga, meditation, physical exercise – getting outdoors, even for a few moments to walk your dog, is a great way to practice some self-care.
But what if you’re living with the person you want to file a divorce or custody order against? Tensions might be high, and trust is likely waning. Remember that this isn’t a battleground or a match you need to win. One of the tips I recommend to my clients – and a tip that is another great habit to form now, before you file for divorce – is if you’re in a situation where you find yourself starting to have a conflict or argument, just drop the racket and walk off the court.
If you’re in an argument, stop what you’re saying, turn around, and walk out of the room. Pick it up again later if you can when tensions are lower. But some conversations just don’t need to be had… really! And stepping away to practice self-care is a good way of protecting your own sanity in a situation that can be really tough.
Prepare for Your Divorce or Custody Case
There’s nothing worse than feeling forced to live with somebody you don’t want to share a home with. But in addition to self-care, moving forward with your divorce or custody process can help ease your mind – even if you’re stuck in the house right now.
One constructive thing you can do to get ready for your case is to prepare a chronology of events. This is something I would ask my clients to complete in a normal divorce case, both for their benefit and mine. Start from the time that you met your significant other and go forward, or start with current events and work your way backward.
Chronologies give me a lot of insight into my client’s situation. They help me pick up patterns of conduct that my client can’t see because they’re living in this situation. And it’s an all-around useful tool for giving your lawyer context and information about your situation. Compiling this information will also help you gather your thoughts and feel like you’re moving forward with your legal situation.
Gather and Organize Documents
Another way you can move forward in your case during the COVID-19 quarantine is to start gathering documents. Some of the most common documents that I use in any divorce or custody trial are emails, text messages, and social media postings. You can gather all those things from the comfort of your own home.
Use online tools to import text messages so they can all be saved in a way that’s useful and searchable. Start putting your documentation together in a file that you can give to a lawyer when you’re ready to move forward. It’ll save you time in the long run.
Other documents you can start gathering now are those pertaining to financial information such as bank account records, expenses, taxes, investments, and others. If you don’t have a scanner available, simply use your cell phone to take pictures of the documents. The goal is to digitize things and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. Not only will you be taking steps toward your divorce or custody case, but you’ll be able to move through the process more quickly once things get back to normal.
Janet McCullar and Family Law Solutions Resources
As you’re working through the practices I’ve outlined above, remember to stay safe, stay home, and be strong. Step away from pointless conflicts or arguments, practice self-care, and organize your chronology and documents to make the most of these uncertain times. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, and you can start taking the steps you need to right now to help your divorce or custody process go smoother.
As an Austin, Texas divorce and custody lawyer, I’ll share more insider information with you soon on other topics I think you’ll find useful. If you’re interested in learning more about divorce or custody cases, I highly recommend going to Amazon or other booksellers and checking out my book, The Custody Lawyer.
If you would like to speak with someone regarding your specific divorce or custody situation, call us at the Law Office of Janet McCullar, PC at (512) 342-9933 for a completely confidential consultation.