4 Steps to Getting a Divorce
Once you have decided with certainty that a divorce is in your best interest, I recommend following these four steps:
1. Back Off From Social Media
This first step is essential. If you are unhappy in your marriage, it is not unusual for others to know about it, especially if you are inclined to share personal information on Facebook and other social media sites. Yet, once you allow yourself an online social platform, you are choosing to dismiss your expectation of privacy. What you post on social media stays on social media, so remove yourself from the scrutiny of others during this time of transition.
2. Begin to Document, Document, Document
The second step is to begin documenting important information that will assist your lawyer in serving your needs. This includes martial issues such as:
- Property owned
- Debts incurred
- Existing open bank accounts
In addition, if children are involved you will need documentation including:
- A record of their activities
- Schools attended
- Daily routines
- Amount of usual contact with each parent
Attending to these first two steps in the divorce process will signal the certainty of your decision to divorce.
3. Consult with an Attorney
Now to the third step: choosing a divorce attorney. In selecting an attorney for legal direction, most couples begin by asking friends, relatives, and co-workers for recommendations. Oftentimes, the people in your close network will have either used a divorce attorney in the past or have friends and family who have done so. This is certainly an obvious place to start in finding legal counsel to suit your needs. In addition, if you have sought professional therapy in the past or are currently working with a therapist, you can often receive recommendations for lawyers from his or her office.
At times, of course, couples may not have access to a personal referral/recommendation for a divorce lawyer and, therefore, must resort to an online search. Yet, by reviewing an attorney’s website, you often will be able to discern if the person is appropriate for your needs.
Be sure to assess the attorney’s educational background, legal focus, practice philosophy, awards/distinctions, and testimonials for an overview and see who gets your attention. Check the attorney’s rating with Martindale-Hubbell. They should have an AV rating (the highest rating for ethical standards). You might also see if the attorney or firm is the recipient of the Preeminent Lawyer distinction. In addition, to the lawyer’s training and reputation, it is important for you to have good rapport and confidence in the attorney you select to assist you with your divorce proceedings.
4. Choose the Right Type of Divorce for You
There are five types of divorce options available to end marriage:
- Pro Se Divorce – This is the most time-efficient and cost-effective way to gain a divorce, and couples that pursue this style often neither have children nor property issues.
- The Non-contested Divorce – This option is where both spouses are resigned to moving forward separately but cooperatively through a low-conflict process.
- Mediated Divorce – In this method, both parties attend sessions together with a trained mediator who facilitates their decision-making, and in this way a costly, litigated, combative divorce is avoided.
- Collaborative Law Divorce – This type of divorce is for couples who still desire to resolve legal issues in a non-adversarial manner where both spouses are represented at the negotiating table by their own individual attorney.
- Contested Divorce – This is the longest, most costly, and most bitter option for divorce where spouses are incapable of servicing their own needs and require a judge to do so for them.
To learn more about the different types of divorce, read 5 Ways to Get Divorced.
While getting a divorce is not easy, following these four steps will help guide you through the process more efficiently. In any case, the best pursuit for divorce is through negotiation and mediation.
For assistance in navigating the divorce process, contact the law office of Marta J Papa