Have you been trying to ignore some very obvious problems in your marriage for longer than you can remember? If you have, it might be in both you and your partner’s best interests to get a divorce and go your separate ways.
Many people put off considering divorce as they think that it will turn ugly. But the reality is that an unhappy marriage can be just as toxic. If you’re perpetually unhappy, make the decision to start preparing for divorce.
Keep reading to learn about the seven steps that’ll help you get ready for the divorce process.
- Be Clear About Your Goals
The first thing you need to be certain about is that a divorce is in your bests interests. Before you seek legal counsel and start the process, ensure that there is no option for reconciliation.
Marriage counseling is the secret to many happy marriages, and if you haven’t tried it, it might be something that can benefit you and your partner. A counselor can help sort through any problems and remind the two of you about the vows you took.
However, some marriages become irreparable, and if that’s the case, you should make a rough outline for the divorce process. This can include a timeline, what sort of custody you hope to get, and how you think your divorce will affect your finances.
- Gather Your Documents
Once you’re certain that divorce is the only option, you’ll have to start getting together some important documents and records. The more organized you are now, the easier the process will be later on.
Start by making a list of all the assets and debts that the two of you acquired while you were married. You’ll also need to make a list of everything that you brought into the marriage, as well as gifts that you received.
When making your lists, consider everything from property and household objects, to bank accounts and loans. You want to make sure to cover every asset and debt now, otherwise, it might come back to bite you later on.
- Set Aside Emergency Funds
Many people underestimate how expensive divorce can be. Although you might hope for the process to end quickly, it can often drag on, causing you to rack up steep legal fees for divorce lawyers.
Aside from having to pay attorneys, you might also be stuck in a situation where you have to pay for emergency housing or food. If you previously shared these expenses with your partner, they might catch you off guard.
Although you shouldn’t put off the divorce for too long, making sure that your finances are somewhat in order beforehand can be a good idea.
- Find a Lawyer
Once you have your documents ready and your finances somewhat together, it’s time to begin looking for a divorce attorney.
As is the case when choosing any attorney, make sure that you go with someone you feel comfortable with. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with one another, so you want to ensure that things don’t feel awkward.
Of course, you also want to make sure that they’re competent and qualified. If they are, they’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action, as well as let you know if you’re missing any important documents or information.
- Speak With Your Spouse
After laying the groundwork for your divorce, it’s time to bite the bullet and speak to your spouse about everything.
Depending on your situation, you can choose to talk to them in person or have papers sent to their house. The best course of action depends on many different factors, but remember that you want to be as civil as possible.
Keeping things civil often helps the process move faster, saving you money and helping it end as soon as possible.
- Mediate or Settle
Once you begin the actual divorce process, each party will lay out what sort of arrangement they want to have. This includes everything from property division settlement to child custody.
If you and your partner disagree on a few points, your attorneys can help the two of you draw up a settlement agreement. This will most likely require you to compromise to some extent, but it saves you from having to go to court.
If both of you continue to disagree or reject the terms laid out, you’ll go to a divorce court. This process can seem incredibly stressful, but a good divorce attorney will walk you through it all.
- Prioritize Your Relationship With Your Children
Divorce can often affect children, especially young ones. Don’t stay in an unhappy marriage because you think it’s what’s best for your children, but make sure to always consider them before doing something.
Try your best to keep their lives as normal as possible. If you begin to harbor resentment towards your partner, find an outlet to release it. You don’t want your children to hear you speaking negatively about their other parent.
If the court decides that the children aren’t going to live with you, do your best to remain a part of their lives. Call them, schedule time for visits, and do whatever you can to make sure they know that you still love them.
Understand the Divorce Process to Power Through It
While divorce is never an easy process, there are some things you can do beforehand to help make it as painless of a transition as possible. Follow the steps laid out in this guide and you’ll be able to navigate the divorce process in no time.
Do you now have a better understanding of how to prepare for divorce? If you do, make sure to check out some of our other articles