Attorney Melissa Davis Strickland Quoted in Best Self Atlanta 0618-0718 – Keeping It Together When Going Separate Ways
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Melissa Davis Strickland, founding lawyer at Buckhead Family Law explains, “A divorce is one of the most important financial transactions of your entire life. You need to know exactly what the state of your financial affairs is, and if you don’t have that information, you and your attorney can get it during the divorce process. Once both parties have equal access to financial information,it’s a lot easier to figure out how to equitably divide assets and debts and determine the appropriate amount of child support and alimony, if applicable. You need to have a very clear picture of your financial situation both now and moving forward, because in most cases what families can afford to do separately looks very different from what you were able to afford to do jointly.”
On the non financial side, Strickland advises couples to really take their children into consideration. Custody and parenting plans may look different for every family, but stepping back and evaluating what works best for your children is what ensures its success in the future. While your marriage has ended, you will always be parents of your children together.
What do I look for in a lawyer?
According to Strickland, “You need to find somebody who clearly understands what your goals and expectations are,and who is going to communicate with you and provide realistic advice as to the likelihood of achieving those goals.It is important to find an attorney that you feel comfortable speaking openly with. Divorce is very emotional. You’re talking about very personal issues. You need to find somebody who’s able to walk you through this process and explain every step to you, advocating and working for you. Someone who makes sure you understand your rights, that you know what you’re entitled to, explains what the likely outcome of each scenario is, and also what that’s going to cost you along the way, so that you can avoid surprises in what is already a very uncertain time.”
How can I get back to normal?
When the divorce is finalized, it can be challenging to figure out what to do next and how to adjust to a new routine. “You’re left with your family to piece together in the best way you can. This is why we work so hard on financial agreements and spend so much time on developing parenting plans in my office because it’s really important that you have a plan that works for your family, and that you get it right,” Strickland says.
She offers her clients advice and support based on her own experience, saying, “Having been through the process personally,I think it’s hard to start living outside the habit of being married. I’m certainly not a therapist, but I tell my clients to just try and move forward one day at a time, to focus on yourself and think about it as a time to rediscover yourself, your interests, your goals, your friendships, and your career.” Strickland adds,“Remember that you’re not defined by your divorce. It doesn’t mean that your relationship was a failure, or that you’ve failed in life, it just means that this chapter is closing and you’re going to move your life and your family forward in a different direction.”