Well, you’ve come to the decision that you have to divorce and you really want to get through this as peacefully as possible without spending your life savings. Just remember that as long as you and your spouse are in agreement, you can pretty much do whatever you want—it’s just a matter of figuring out the best strategy to get through the court system. Here are some things you can do to avoid litigation and get your process through your local court system.
- First of all, talk to your spouse and see where you’re in agreement on the following issues that are relevant to your situation. On areas where you are not in agreement, try not to fight and just write them down with a plan to address them later.
- Should you divorce? Is this what you both want?
- Each develop a budget so you know how much you are going to need to survive the separation.
- When will you start separating your living space.
- Where will you each live.
- What are you going to do about the children?
i. How will you work out their custody
ii. What kind of parenting plan (visitation) works best.
iii. What amount of child support will work for you.
- What about your community assets and debts? How are you going to divide them—who gets what.
- Do you have separate property that you both agree is the other’s separate property.
- What about alimony/spousal support—will it be required.
- Pets—what will happen to them?
- Figure out what your timing is as to when you want to start the process.
- Legal Assistance
- Start your documents using an independent paralegal service, or in some states they are called legal document assistants/preparers.
- Find a mediator you both agree on to help you resolve your unresolved issues.
- Each of you pay an attorney who agrees to ONLY CONSULT on your case, and pay them for 1-2 hours of consultation on the issues you are not in agreement on.
- Mediate your unresolved issues until you have an agreement
- Have your attorney review your agreement keeping in mind that they will probably make many suggestions—you must keep common sense in mind here and make sure that any changes/revisions to your agreement recommended by your attorney are essential. Many times they are giving you advice and recommendations that are helpful, but just way to overboard for your situation.
- Final documents—these can be finalized using the independent paralegal service or attorney.
- Divide your assets per your agreement.
- Start healing and taking care of yourself.
- Find support groups for both you and your children.
- Spend time loving yourself!!
The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.