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Margie: Filling for divorce, in fact, recent numbers show filings in January are upwards of 25% to 30% higher than average. Attorney Jonathan Marks with the Marks Law Firm here this morning to talk a little bit more about this. Good morning to you.
Jonathan: Good morning Margie.
Margie: Yes, so why the first of the year do we see so many filing?
Jonathan: Generally you have a lot overflow from individuals who were considering it in September, October but in essence tried to hold off on it because of the fact that either they didn’t want to put their children through it for the holidays there were upcoming or they wanted to see if the holidays would cure some of their ailments within their marriage or even if they just didn’t want to be alone during the holiday time. So they put things off and then once the January happens they decided it was time to file for the divorce.
Margie: Yeah. And you said now may not be the best time, what are some things that you need to consider before filing for divorce?
Jonathan: Yeah, I mean…so there’s always the financial issues and then there is, of course, the kid issues. From a financial standpoint, the question is, “Are you putting yourself in a financial position that you know enough information that it’s time to go and see your attorney and then subsequently file?” January is always a time when tax documents are starting to come into the household and which you’d be better off waiting maybe 30 days until you have all that current tax information so that your attorney is better prepared to advise you as to what your financial consequences will be going through the divorce. The other aspect of it is from a child perspective you know just coming off the holidays right into January is that the proper time when the kids are returning back to school and starting to get back to normalcy for you then you know upturn the apple cart and then go file for the divorce?
Margie: That’s the other thing to consider is have you thought about what you want for custody?
Jonathan: Sure. And so when you go in and you’re starting to think about this you really have to think about what are your goals within the situation? From a custody standpoint is it something where you think you and your spouse are gonna alternate on a regular basis? Is it something where you’re not into a 50/50 schedule? And then what are the financial circumstances around the children’s costs? Are you gonna be able to meet those needs if you’re living in two separate households?
Margie: Yeah. I mean you have so many people sit down for the first initial meeting with an attorney, what are the things that they need to consider before they even walk through your door?
Jonathan: I think they have to have some idea in general where they picture themselves maybe three months, six months and then nine months down the road. Too many times individual start to look at the finish line as opposed to where they’re at. And when they do that they start to look so far ahead that they forget about all the different transitional stages they have to go through to get to that end. And in doing it are you gonna be staying in the home for example? Is it something that’s a goal for you to remain in your house or are you gonna be looking at alternative housing? Is it something where you’re unemployed and you’re looking to have to transition back into the workforce? Are you gonna need spousal support? How much money do you need to continue to support the children and your own needs on a monthly basis? And just having some general idea of what your total household income is and what you think your needs are gonna be is gonna further a conversation the first time you meet with an attorney so they can kind of guide you to have realistic goals as to what you can expect at the conclusion of your case.
Margie: Do you feel like most people are prepared when they walk in?
Jonathan: No, and I think that’s normal.
Jonathan: It’s in the same way if you’re walking into a doctor’s office and you know you’re sick but you’re not sure what the cure is gonna be. You’re looking for somebody to guide you into that situation. So I think it’s important that you have an idea of what’s going on and what you think in general is important to you. But to have an expectation that you know all the answers when you walk in the door? No. And if you do, it’s gonna be very difficult to have that conversation because the attorney is gonna have difficulty breaking through your expectation level.
Margie: Some good things to think about for certain. Jonathan Marks, thank you. We appreciate your time this morning.
Jonathan: Thank you, Margie.
Margie: For more information on the Marks Law Firm go to the “STL Moms” tab.