Dissolving a marriage takes a lot of mental and emotional energy. A team of trusted friends, family, and professionals is recommended so that you can get your new life on track.
Here are some recommendations when pulling together your divorce team:
You are making the decision to dissolve your marriage. Your family may want to support you but they don’t know what you need. Let them know. Ask them to respect your decisions and that you are not asking them to be involved. You may need financial assistance or temporary housing but don’t give up your own power.
Your friends will want to take your side. Remember they are seeing things through their own lenses and experience. What was appropriate for them may not be relevant to your situation. Be discreet with who you confide in, especially if there are things you don’t want to get back to your spouse. Show extra restraint with social media!
Maybe for the first, second, or third time in your life you are making your own decisions. Pay attention to your feelings. Where do you want to live? What do you want your future to look like? Try some new activities, meet new people. Make it a new adventure. Don’t make divorce your only occupation.
Research your state’s laws regarding divorce, property, support and parenting. Washington has a good official website as do many states. Proceed with caution on sites selling you something. Make sure a website or blog is relevant to your state. Check the writer’s credentials. Don’t get legal advice from non-lawyers. Blogs from lawyers in your community are a way to gauge their perspective. Do not take legal advice from this blog.
A certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) can help you plan your budget and make wise financial decisions about a property division. You can often save attorney fees if your CDFA has prepared spreadsheets and proposed possible scenarios. She can also help make sure all assets have been accounted for. A CDFA is not an investment advisor.
If you have been married less than three years, own no property, have no debt and no children, then you could do it yourself, but a lawyer may be able to point out hassle-free, low-cost options. If you have children, own a house, or have investments, you must at least consult with an attorney.