With the holidays behind us, you may be ready to file for divorce. Of course, it's one thing to be emotionally ready and another to actually file. Here are some practical considerations if you think you are ready to file for divorce.
1. Decide on the timing. You have already made it through the holiday season and that's usually a good idea. Now, you need to think about whether you have your life in order. Do you have a job? Do you have money available to pay for the divorce? Do you have information on the finances? Do you have your personal effects secured so that they don't happen to “disappear” later? Have you planned where you would live and how you would pay your bills? It's important to plan ahead for many different issues. Don't start until you are ready. 2. Decide on the process. You need to know that, even though every divorce must be filed at the courthouse, you can work through reaching the final terms in a variety of ways. In extremely rare cases (when both parties are friendly, knowledgeable and cooperative), you can just negotiate directly with your spouse and reach agreements. At the other end of the spectrum is the standard litigated divorce, which is often the most contentious and expensive approach. In between is the relatively new process of Collaborative Law in which the parties work out an agreement through a series of meetings out of court. You can read up on the options and you should probably talk to a trained and experienced Collaborative lawyer. 3. Find and meet with an attorney. Although many people are opting for the “do it yourself” approach, that is probably not your best bet if you have children or assets, including retirement plans, real estate or investments, among other things. Unless you have had an extremely short marriage or you have no assets, you probably should at least meet with a lawyer. My suggestion would be to meet with an experienced Collaborative Law attorney to find out your full range of options.
Good luck getting started!