A divorce is a tough time in life. To get through the process as smoothly as possible, you need to be organized. Here is a general list of things you need to do to start the process.
Break the News Gently
If you are the one who wants to initiate the divorce, be graceful when you break the news to your spouse. You may want to go out to lunch or meet at a coffee shop when you tell your spouse you want to divorce. A public setting is ideal, especially if you believe your spouse will have an adverse reaction.
Before you ask for a divorce, think about what you want to say so you are as clear as possible. You could make a list of things you are unhappy about in your relationship to support your decision.
Also, think about how your spouse will absorb the news so you can have a proper reaction. Will your spouse be angry? If so, you can prepare by having someone with you when you ask for a divorce. If your spouse will be distraught or devastated, think of some comforting things you can say to explain your reasoning. You loved this person at one time, so try to be gentle.
You may want to make preparations for a different place to stay at least for the night after you ask for a divorce. You both will benefit from some space right afterward to process the news.
Tell Your Children
The goal when you tell your children about your divorce is to present a united front and tell the children together. You do not want to pit one parent against the other at any point. Instead, explain you both will still be their parents even when you are no longer married.
Make sure the children do not take the blame or feel responsible for your divorce. Before you tell the children, you both should loosely discuss where the children will live once you go your separate ways. The children will inevitably ask this question, so have an answer prepared.
Begin a Divorce File
Organization is key when you go through a divorce. Start a file with every record or document that will have an impact on the divorce. Keeping all your paperwork together will make the process much more streamlined. One option is to get an accordion-style folder system with labels. Make sections for the different components of your documentation.
In your folder, you should have sections for information on your assets, including retirement accounts, investments, credit accounts, and debt. Also, include copies of your tax returns, pay stubs, and other sources of income. You may want to include a separate section for information pertaining to your home. Also, include a section for your children, custody, and child support.
Obtain Legal Representation
If you do not already have a divorce attorney, now is the time to retain one. He or she will provide you with guidance as to how to proceed. You have several options regarding how you divorce. You can go through a traditional divorce trial in court if you prefer. To make the process less traumatic and more cooperative, you can also opt for a mediation.
Mediation is a process in which a mediator, or a neutral third party, sits with you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys to hash out the dissolution of marriage in a fair and equitable way. The mediator is simply a facilitator and does not represent either party to the marriage. You and your spouse will work out the details regarding the division of assets, custody, child support, and the like.
Mediation is much faster than a courtroom trial. Most important, you and your spouse are in charge of the decisions rather than a judge.
Organizing the process will make the divorce much smoother. If you have any questions, please contact Paula D Perez, Attorney at Law.