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Some steps to take once you decide to file for divorce

Divorce has a nasty reputation, and on the surface it makes sense. Divorce is the act of breaking people who were once in love apart. That's not an inherently "good" act. However, that perception is merely skin deep. Divorce is also a solution to an unhappy marriage; a flip of the page of life, allowing someone to move on to a new, and hopefully more fulfilling and happy, chapter; and a simple, if not (sometimes) contentious, way for people to come to grips with their marital problems.

These things get lost in the stigma attached to divorce, so it's important to remind ourselves every now and again that divorce is, at its very core, a solution. Now, from there, where does a divorce-considering couple go?

Well, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you need to find a job if you don't have one. Whether you're unemployed or you simply have been the stay-at-home parent, it is critical that you find a job to not only occupy your time, but to also help you establish yourself financially. When your divorce is final, the transition from living with two incomes to just one will be easier.

Second, you're going to need some support in a variety of areas. Legally, you need to consult a divorce attorney right away. Personally, you'll want your friends and family to be nearby so that you can talk about your divorce and vent a little bit. Emotionally, you may want to seek a therapist to help you through this trying time.

Last but not least, do everything in your power to have an amicable divorce. For the record, this does not mean you have to be friends with your soon-to-be-ex; instead, it just means that you should try to work things out in an agreeable and drama-free way (or as close to that as you can).

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Three Ways to Protect Yourself in a Divorce," Margaret Klaw, Jan. 29, 2014

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