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9 Top Considerations Before You Divorce

If you are not currently separated and you are considering separation or divorce, I want you to ask yourself the following questions.
(2 minutes 51 seconds read time)

Lori Denman-Underhill
Lori Denman-Underhill uses the power of the press to raise awareness about endless causes.

If you are not currently separated and are considering separation or divorce, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why do I want this separation or divorce? Try making a list of all the reasons that you have for wanting to separate from your spouse. Place a star next to the top three reasons. Carry it around with you for a week and look at it over and over during that week. See how you feel at the end of the week about each reason. This does not apply to marriages or relationships where there is domestic violence, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or child abuse (and you are the victim).
  2. If there are any good feelings left for your spouse, and particularly if you have children, consider couple’s or marital counseling. If you don’t know how to find a good psychologist or other therapist, ask you family doctor, OBGYN, your priest, minister, or rabbi. The other option is to call a university near your home. There is typically a counseling center at every university that provide a list of local psychologists or other mental health professional that specializes in marital or couples therapy.
  3. Have a consultation with a Family or Divorce Attorney. Again, doctors, and friends who have been divorced are great referral sources. The local Bar Association in the city nearest to you is another good referral source. Most Family Law Attorneys offer a free consultation. Ask about that before you make an appointment. The purpose of this appointment is for you to get a realistic idea of what your rights are, issues of spousal support, custody and child support (if you have children). Most counties have a web site for the superior court, which handles family law cases (as well as civil, probate, and other non-criminal cases).
  4. If you decide to go forward with divorce, try to be as respectful as possible to the other party. Mediation is a much cheaper and less stressful way to work out financial issues and at times, custody and visitation issues.
  5. If mediation is not a possibility, and you can afford an attorney, hire an attorney to handle your divorce and custody case. Make sure the attorney is knowledgeable in all areas of family law and ask if you can speak to 1-2 clients of hers/his just to hear their opinions about the attorney.
  6. The decision to handle the divorce yourself, is called “In Pro Per”. It is never advisable to try and represent yourself; it’s like walking into a courtroom with a big sign over your head “kick me”! Divorce laws are complicated and particularly if you’re soon to be ex-spouse has an attorney, PROTECT YOURSELF! If finances are an issue, many religious organizations have attorneys in every field that will volunteer their time to help people that can’t afford private attorneys.
  7. Make sure you have a good support system of friends and whenever possible family. If you don’t have a good support system, there are often free support groups through Churches or Temples. It may seem uncomfortable to join a support group, but take the leap of faith and go. They really do help!
  8. Read as much as you can yourself about divorce, custody and parenting plans (if you have children, of course)
  9. Take extra good care of yourself! This means – eat well, exercise, rest and do what you love.