Yes, you’ve seen it coming. You’ve been having challenges within the marriage, you’ve been struggling to communicate effectively, and there’s been some talk of the word “divorce.” Nevertheless, hearing your spouse ask for one can instantly put you in a state of shock and leave you not knowing where to turn.
The idea of divorce proceedings and starting a life post-marriage is daunting to anyone, but especially to those going through a divorce for the first time. Following these initial five steps will provide you a reliable roadmap until you can get back on your feet again.
1. Practice Self-Care
While you are in a state of shock, instead of going on autopilot and completing your daily tasks as you always did, take a moment for self-care when you can. Step into another room to breathe, acknowledge your moods, and accept how you are feeling.
In the upcoming months, you will be forced to make some heavy decisions. You need to be in a state of mind to make thoughtful, rather than emotional, decisions.
Part of your self-care should include reaching out to others, or accepting the support they offer. For some, seeking out a therapist is necessary. For others, agreeing to be vulnerable with a good friend is helpful.
2. Attempt a Civil Conversation
Getting the full picture and figuring out what is going on in your partner’s mind will give you clues on what your next steps should be. In private, discuss in a calm manner their reasoning for wanting a divorce, if there is any chance for reconciliation, and what ultimate outcome they are looking for.
After having this conversation, reflect on their responses. Give yourself time to process their position, and decide how to move forward.
3. Do Some Research
If we haven’t been through it before, most of us don’t know much about the complex divorce process. Looking into what to expect and reading about how it works can give you some confidence as you move through the proceedings.
4. Prepare Your Finances
As soon as possible, begin keeping records of your income and expenses. Maintain a clear and detailed budget. This will help the divorce proceedings go more smoothly, and give you the knowledge you need to set yourself up for the future.
You will also want to take note of any assets or liabilities you and your spouse acquired while in your marriage. In addition, take note of those acquired prior to the marriage, or any inheritance or gifts given to you that were solely in your name. The assets that are your own will remain yours, while the joint assets will need to be divided up or another solution will need to be reached.
5. Find a Good Fit Family Law Attorney
The final step is locating an experienced and compassionate attorney that makes you feel confident throughout the process of the divorce. You want to find someone you are comfortable being honest with, as often there is sensitive information that will need to be disclosed. You also want someone willing to fight for you in court, and one who can help ease your anxiety in those tough moments.
You should be able to communicate effectively with the lawyer you choose, so be sure to consult with that attorney before making a decision.
As you work through the beginnings of this stressful process, the right family law attorney can make all the difference. Feel free to reach out to our team of understanding and passionate attorneys for advice and counsel whenever you need it.