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The first steps to take when considering divorce

Divorce is a momentous step. If you are considering divorce, it is likely you have a number of questions. While no one can tell you if divorce is right for your situation, there are a few things to consider prior to filing for divorce. These include:


  1. Counseling.Despite the stereotype, divorce lawyers are not here to convince you to get a divorce. It is a big step, and some issues can be worked out with time and marriage counseling. The best course for you will depend on your situation and personal goals and beliefs. Counseling, both individually or with your spouse, can help determine whether divorce is right for you.
  2. Research finances. Before you file for divorce, it is important to have a full understanding of your financial situation — including debts. Gather tax returns, credit card statements and other financial documentation about your joint income, expenses and debts. That way you can plan from the outset regarding issues such as alimony, child support, mortgage and debt obligations, and other financial needs.
  3. Create goals. Where do you envision yourself living? With whom? What are your financial goals post-divorce? Having a clear idea of what you want once the divorce is final can go a long way toward easing the divorce process itself.
  4. Stay single. Your marriage may be ending (and may have unofficially ended some time ago) but getting romantically involved just before or during divorce can complicate the process. Adultery is not “punished” in divorce; however, living with a new partner and seeing other people can be a factor in alimony, child custody and other issues in divorce.
  5. Speak to a lawyer. Even in a dissolution of marriage proceeding or divorces in which each party can work together, you need to be aware of your legal rights and options. An initial consultation can help you get a clear idea of what to expect from the divorce process and what other steps you can take. Come to the consultation with questions and as much financial information as you can gather.


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