Divorce is regarded as one of the most stressful life events. Navigating practicalities such as your finances, living situation, and child custody arrangements can be difficult enough without the added emotional and mental strain of having to accept that your marriage is over. Follow the guidance outlined below to help make the divorce process as stress-free as possible.
Obtain Legal Advice as Quickly as Possible
While it may be unnecessary to have legal representation throughout the entire divorce process, seeking the help of a divorce attorney is advisable at certain points to protect your interests in the long term. This is especially so if your spouse has hired a lawyer or where the financial aspects of your divorce are particularly complex.
When selecting a lawyer to represent you it is advisable to hire someone with a positive track record in this area and one who has experience in the type of divorce you and your partner have chosen to pursue. Many divorce attorneys offer potential clients free consultations where they can discuss their case and their options free of charge. This will also give you the opportunity to evaluate the attorney on qualities such as communication and professionalism.
Know Your Options for Divorce Proceedings
Contrary to popular belief the vast majority of divorces are not fought out in the courtroom but are instead settled out of court. As many as 95% of divorces in the United States are settled by other methods and divorce is no longer limited to the two options of no-fault and fault. Alternative procedures such as mediation, arbitration or collaborative divorce now exist making the process less time-consuming, contentious, and costly, allowing for the possibility of a more stress-free divorce.
Depending on your particular situation and your ability to work together with your spouse on matters such as the division of property, child custody, and living arrangements an alternative divorce process may be achievable.
Come up with a Parenting Plan
If you and your spouse have children together, being able to devise a parenting plan together can take much of the stress out of your divorce. The rules regarding child custody vary from state to state so it is important to familiarize yourself with these beforehand.
Your parenting plan should include matters such as physical custody, a visitation schedule, holiday and vacation times, and expenses. It may also state which parent has decision-making authority regarding your children’s health and education. To ease the financial stress of supporting your children, you may also be entitled to child support in the form of a temporary child support court order pending the finalization of your divorce.
Plan Out Living Arrangements
When you and your partner decide to part ways one or both of you will likely have to move out of the marital home you shared. If there are children involved, a court will generally rule in favor of the primary caretaker staying in the family home as it is less disruptive to the lives and routines of the children. Depending on why your marriage failed, alternative living arrangements may need to be considered while your divorce is pending.
Follow the steps above to help you navigate the divorce process with the least amount of stress.