It’s that time of year. The weather is getting warmer, the sun is staying out longer, leaves are growing back on the trees, and flowers are starting to bloom. This is the time of year when magazines and housekeeping gurus like Southern Living and Martha Stewart publish articles to remind us all that it’s time to give our houses a good spring cleaning. These articles contain helpful tips and tricks for making spring cleaning as painless as possible and to get your house looking as good as new. If we spend a little time each year giving our houses a good, old-fashioned scrubbing, why not do the same if you are contemplating separation or divorce? If you have given everything you can to your marriage and have made the decision to separate, then what can be more important than focusing on cleaning out the mess that is standing between you and a sparkling, fresh life? To help you achieve this goal, just follow these common spring cleaning tips:
- Get organized. You and your spouse intend to separate or are separated. It can be almost impossible to focus on and determine what the most important issues to deal with are when you try to do too many things at once. Do you work out your child custody schedule first? Do you make sure you have regular financial support coming in? Alimony? Child Support? Is it a monthly battle to decide who is going to pay which family debts or bills? Take a minute to step back and come up with a game plan. By creating a list for what is most important, what issues just can’t wait, and what items can be put on the back-burner, you and your attorney can help you work through your most important issues and reach a resolution on each one instead of just trouble-shooting various smaller issues as they come up without an actual long-term solution.
- If you don’t need it, get rid of it. Maybe you’re further along in the separation and divorce process, but there are just a few last things that seem impossible to let go of. . Often a family law client finds that there is something holding them back from finalizing everything even if most of their issues have been resolved. For example, in a custody case, maybe you’ve got the regular parenting schedule set, but you and your ex can’t agree on a summer vacation schedule. Or in your equitable distribution case, which deals with the division of marital assets and debts, you can’t decide on who gets the patio set. Now is the time to take a long look at whether that thing that is holding you back from settling is really worth it. Just like that pair of hot pink boots you haven’t worn in six years, maybe it’s time to just let it go and clear up some space in your closet, and in your life.
- Don’t forget the overlooked surfaces. Sometimes we are so focused on the big picture, that we forget the details. Spring cleaning tips encourage you to do things like dust the tops of doorways and move furniture to reach those areas that are often missed in ordinary day-to-day cleaning. So while, for the most part, focusing on the big picture is probably a solid approach, there comes a time to pay attention to those smaller details that can cause a big problem if they are never addressed. For example, if you and your ex have trouble communicating, it’s probably a good idea to spell out the most efficient and effective way to communicate in your parenting agreement or custody order. Clearly define whether you are going to use the children’s swim practice as the exchange point for your change in parenting time or are you just going to meet at the other parent’s house after practice is over. Instead of not knowing how one parent will pay the other child support, including a provision that child support will be paid on the same day each month by direct deposit into the other parent’s account so you aren’t worrying each month about when and how it will be delivered or paid.
With a little bit of spring cleaning, your home can look sparkly and new. Why shouldn’t your life look and feel the same way? Take the time to follow these helpful hints and your home won’t be the only thing organized, clean, and ready for this beautiful new season.
Have a question about family law? Unsure of which step to begin your spring cleaning checklist? Give us a call today or fill out our form, we’re here to help.