It may seem as if the divorce settlement reached by celebrities Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes was lightning fast, but our Indiana divorce lawyers understand that it had a lot to do with prior planning on Holmes' part.
Forming a solid divorce plan with your attorney before you ever file a single piece of paperwork or even tell your soon-to-be-ex isn't sneaky - it's smart.
Plus, it may allow you to avoid becoming ensnared in a lengthy and emotionally scarring battle if you have a better grasp of your rights, what you need to ask for and what you're likely to get. Even for those with children, divorce needn't be a messy or complicated affair - if you take the time to plan ahead.
By the time Holmes had filed for divorce late last month, she had already hired three, high-profile family law attorneys in different states. The divorce settlement was reached just 11 days after she filed. But that doesn't mean it took only 11 days of work.
The details of that agreement have been kept confidential.
Fast settlement agreements, like the one reached by Holmes and Cruise, are often best-suited for couples who can agree on most of the major points. In general, we may see a shift in divorce cases, with couples more leaning toward this method, perhaps because many are children of divorce themselves, and understand how damaging an ugly, drawn-out battle can be.
Still, there is a lot you may not have considered - everything from how your taxes will be filed and who will claim dependents to how you will split your nest egg. This may be easier if you've kept primarily separate accounts, but there is almost always some untangling that needs to be done no matter how autonomous both parties have been throughout the marriage.
Of course, divorce cases are as varied as the marriages that spawned them, but generally speaking, quick resolutions can help you begin your new life sooner, and with no ill effect, provided planning has not been sacrificed to speed.
Once a divorce settlement is reached, there are sometimes disputes that arise with regard to that settlement, which must be resolved before a family law judge. High-profile examples of this include Supermodel Christie Brinkley and her ex-husband Peter Cook, who were battling over property in New York after their divorce settlement, when details emerged about Cook's affair with a teenager. Actors Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger too have returned to court multiple times to address child custody issues.
There's no guarantee new issues won't arise, but again, the best insulation you have against that is careful planning before you file.
Some good first steps if you're considering a divorce include:
1. Meeting with a skilled divorce attorney.
2. Making copies of all important records and documents, including bank statements, tax returns, life insurance policies, credit card statements, mortgage documents, wills, etc.
3. Make an inventory of all your family possessions and household items - anything of value, including artwork, jewelry, furniture, appliances, vehicles, etc.
4. Have a solid grasp on your household expenses and budget and know exactly what your spouse earns. Document as much of this as possible.
5. Start saving money of your own as soon as you begin to consider a divorce. This will not only help with legal fees, it will ensure a more stable future as you embark on a life on your own.
Indiana Family Law Attorney Burton A. Padove handles divorce and child custody matters throughout northern Indiana, including Gary, Hammond and Calumet City. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.