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8 Things to Know About Divorce

Divorce, by definition, is the dissolution of a marriage. Whether you choose to perceive divorce as a love story gone wrong or as a fresh start is entirely up to you. Whatever your stance, we encourage all individuals considering a divorce to seek legal counsel.

Some couples are fortunate enough to experience speedy and amicable divorce proceedings. Others, however, endure emotionally and financially drawn-out journeys. An attorney can help you navigate both contested and uncontested matters and serve as a mediator during discussions between you and the party from whom you’re separating.

To best prepare you, we've rounded up the top eight considerations when navigating divorce.

  1. Be reasonable. Divorces are highly emotional experiences. As best you can, set those emotions aside so you can settle on terms that meet the needs of your family. Walking away from the table with all assets isn’t always the key to a successful divorce. Be reasonable in your expectations and ask for only what you truly need to be happy in your next stage of life.

  2. Consider custody arrangements. Changes in family life can significantly disrupt some children’s routines and perspectives. Be mindful of how your separation impacts them and consider what type of custody or visitation plan best suits their needs to foster a relationship with one or both parents.

  3. Prioritize your to-do list. It is hard to disassemble a life you built with someone. Do you sell the house, open a separate bank account, seek new insurance? Knowing where to start can seem like an impossible task. Sit down with your attorney to decide which legal issue to tackle first and remind yourself that it’s okay to work through things one step at a time.

  4. Understand the cost. Couples spend an average of $15,000 to $20,000 on divorce proceedings. These prices increase significantly as court proceedings continue for issues regarding alimony, child support and custody, property distribution, and other terms.

  5. Ensure divorce is the only solution. Taking cost into account, discuss with your spouse and attorney alternative options to divorce. There are other avenues to remedy your relationship or separate without the high cost of court proceedings.

  6. At-Fault vs. No-Fault. Not all states allow individuals to stipulate fault on a divorce petition, but it’s important to understand their meanings, nonetheless. Indicating a no-fault divorce means that the party filing does not accuse their spouse of any misconduct that led to the dissolution of the marriage. An at-fault or fault-based divorce, on the other hand, claims that one spouse’s behavior is grounds for divorce. Misconduct can include cruelty, abandonment, and adultery, just to name a few.

  7. Amend essential life documents. Spouses are often listed as medical powers of attorney, trustees, and executors. Divorce changes the landscape of an individual's life plans, so be sure to update wills, estate plans, and other legal documents before or upon finalizing the separation.

  8. Get support. Lean on friends, family, or even local support groups during your time of need. Remember to look after yourself, despite the hardship of divorce. As is the case in many of life’s experiences, it takes a village.