If you are sure you are getting a divorce, you and your spouse have already made the major decision. But, that is not always the case. One spouse may not be ready for a divorce. Or, if both of you are ready, you will still need to consider many factors to make the process go as smoothly as possible to avoid an all-out war or other repercussions.
Counseling or Not
If you are sure you want a divorce, but your spouse wants to try counseling first, be careful because if you agree to counseling, it could backfire, according to the “Psychology Today Magazine” website. Unless you are sincere about the counseling, your spouse will probably know that you are just going through the motions to appease him, and things could get ugly. He may want to retaliate and hire a shark of a lawyer to get back at you. Unless you are both trying to save the marriage, it is usually better to forego the counseling.
Collaborative or Combative
Besides both of you hiring the toughest lawyers you can find and duking it out, spouses who want a divorce have other options, such as the collaborative practice, according to the Nolo website. The collaborative divorce takes away the combative nature of divorce and instead uses problem-solving methods that both parties can live with and accept. Usually, you will use a neutral mediator to help you both reach a compromise.
Even if you don’t plan to use an attorney to handle your divorce, an initial consultation with one is a good idea, according to the Family Education website. You don’t want to make any errors that could cost you later. For example, an attorney can advise you what to do if you have debt or about retirement assets. A lawyer can help you determine if you should move out or if that would mean you might lose custody of the children. The lawyer will tell you if it is OK for you to date and any other risks you might incur.
You need to find out exactly what your husband makes by looking at a pay stub or at your tax return. You will want to know what your assets and debts are as well. You will need to know what your monthly expenses are and make a plan for how you will live on your own. You also need to plan to possibly go back to work if you aren’t already working. If you have been out of the job market for a while, you may need to brush up on some skills before getting a divorce. It would be wise for you to save up some money and build up your own credit.
If your spouse has been the one who mostly takes care of the children, you need to start getting more involved. Learn who your children’s teachers are, help your children get to school in the mornings and put them to bed at night, recommends the Family Education website. Decide if you and your spouse will tell your children together about your divorce or if just one of you will. Tell your spouse about the divorce first, before you tell your friends or your children.
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