If you and your spouse have decided to call it quits on your marriage, you’re not alone. The statistic that nearly 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce is still a reality in the U.S. Subsequent marriages have an even higher failure rate, although some couples report being much happier with their second mate than their first. Whether the idea of divorce is mutual or you just decided to serve your spouse with papers, you need to know what the proper legal steps are.
Consult a Divorce Lawyer
If there’s enough assets, property, cars, wealth, etc., amassed between the two of you, you absolutely need to consult a divorce lawyer. If children were born to the marriage, you need a divorce lawyer. If you live in a state where what’s yours is actually “his”, i.e., a common marital property law state, you need a lawyer. If there are any other special circumstances that could prevent an equal and fair split between the two of you, a consultation with a divorce lawyer should be the very first step you take.
Hire the Lawyer and Outline What You Want From the Divorce
Hiring a lawyer isn’t cheap, but given what you could lose if you don’t have legal representation, it’s a fair price. The lawyer will want to know what you want from the marital home, property, and assets, as well as any alimony or child support you want if you ask for and receive custody of the children. All of these things are necessary in order to draw up the divorce papers and file a proper suit in court. It is also necessary so that your soon-to-be-ex has everything in front of him/her and on paper for his/her own records.
Your Ex and/or His/Her Lawyer Should Be Talking to Your Lawyer, Not You
In many cases, one spouse tries to force the other to say or do something that would benefit him/her and hurt the manipulated spouse. Whether or not that is a concern for you, you should still refuse to speak to him/her unless there’s an attorney present for you. If he/she wants to pass along a message, it should be given to your lawyer and then your lawyer gives you the message. Keeping this third-party system of messaging in place prevents anyone from behaving badly or saying things that shouldn’t be said.
Always Show Up to Court ON TIME
Never ever be late to court! The judge will not look fairly at you for holding up proceedings. If you can, be a few minutes early, and only let your lawyer do the talking unless the judge asks you a direct question.
Going through a divorce is never easy, no matter the reasons why you are getting one. Make the process a little less stressful by remembering the above tips and hiring a lawyer to make sure everything gets done correctly. Taking these legal tasks off your shoulders will allow you to focus on healing and moving forward in your life.
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