Anyone considering a divorce should probably step back a bit before and take some time to examine their options. If you are not sure you want a divorce you might not want to do anything at all for a while. Before ending a marriage, maybe some counseling or therapy would be beneficial. Anything done to rekindle a relationship will definitely cost a lot less than a divorce ultimately would. Ultimately however, you are the person who will have to decide what you’re going to do and you are the person who will have to live with the decisions you make. Divorce usually occurs when one spouse feels they have been unfairly treated. If you and your spouse can communicate and agree on those issues a divorce might not be the best alternative for your situation.
If you have already decided that a divorce is your best or only option, there are a few things you can do to make the whole divorce process a bit easier. Obviously, separating your finances before you initiate a divorce is never a bad idea. Pay off any joint debts as soon as possible and cancel all jointly held credit cards and to set up individual credit accounts. You are allowed to take half of all the cash assets from joint checking, savings and other liquid financial accounts, but don’t take more than half or there could be legal repercussions later. You also might want to remove you’re your spouse from any insurance policies and replace them with your children or relatives as beneficiaries instead. You can make a new will that names your children, relatives or even a charity as your heirs.
Obtaining a divorce is never a simple task and the court process can often be complicated and confusing for most people. The divorce process is governed by individual state statutes and the rules will vary depending on where you live but many of the general processes are similar. You will need to determine if the state where you live is a community property state, or an equitable property state. All 50 states now recognize uncontested, no fault divorces, so you will have to decide whether or not you can communicate well enough with your spouse to execute a simple uncontested divorce. If there is a large estate to be divided and you have minor children, you might need a divorce attorney to untangle thing for you.
A do-it-yourself divorce without a court battle will save money but one major consideration in obtaining a divorce without an attorney is the law in the state where you live. Some states make getting an uncontested divorce very easy, especially when there are no minor children involved. Other states have laws that make divorce far more difficult and legal counsel is almost mandatory. If you do decide to hire a divorce lawyer, he or she will provide the information you’ll need to know. If you decide to represent yourself, make sure you have the resources to do it correctly. Hiring an attorney by the hour for an initial consultation can also make a do-it-yourself divorce a bit easier. A one-time consultation is less expensive than hiring an attorney for an entire divorce. If you think you really need an attorney in your particular situation and you can’t afford one, you should contact the Bar Association or legal aid society in your county or state to see what assistance is available.
Remember that your divorce attorney is not a therapist and cannot resolve your emotional and psychological issues. If you are unsure about what is best, perhaps you should consider hiring a divorce mediator. A professional divorce mediator might be able to help settle your case without a court trial. Mediation can also help you decide how to handle your case instead of allowing the court to make decisions for you. Your lawyer will always act in your best interests, but cannot bend the law to suit your position. The judge always has the final word in a divorce action and also has the final say in all support, alimony, custody and property division issues. Remember that your marriage is not considered to be legally terminated and you can’t get remarried until you have a completed divorce decree signed by a judge in your possession.