I Think We Need a Divorce…
Whether you and your spouse feel confident that divorce is the best next step, or you are just beginning to explore your family restructuring options, preparing to move forward can feel daunting. For most of us, the divorce process is unfamiliar. Knowing where to start can make all the difference. Following a simple checklist can help you prepare to commit to a plan and process that best meets your family’s needs.
Take a personal inventory of your current situation. The following questions will help you determine the type of professional best suited to assist you and your spouse in the short- and long-term:
- Is reconciliation with my spouse possible?
- Could Discernment counseling help?
- Could marital counseling help?
- Which conflict resolution techniques have been most successful in the past with my spouse?
- Am I willing to explore consensual dispute resolution options such as Collaborative Divorce or Mediation rather than go to court (Litigation)?
- Is my spouse willing to explore these types of options as well?
- What are the most urgent issues to address?
- When everything has been completed, what do I hope the outcome will be in regard to
- My relationship with my former spouse?
- My relationship with our children?
- My former spouse’s relationship with our children?
- My new life situation (home, career, finances, other relationships)
Exploring the Process:
If you are unfamiliar with divorce process options, a simple internet search on the following terms will educate you on the pros and cons of each process option:
- Divorce Options Workshops
- Family Law Litigation
- Family Law Mediation
- Family Law Collaborative Divorce
When researching your options, keep in mind your goals. Every option has its pros and cons. Determining the aspects that are most important to your family in the short- and long-term will help guide your process decision:
- Control over decisions
- Control over costs
- Children/Family Issues
- Financial Interests
- Length of Process
Include your spouse in your research findings. The best resolutions for your family will include input and agreement from both partners.
Interviewing/Hiring a Professional
- Gather names of professionals (attorneys, mediators, counselors, financial professionals) specializing in the processes you are most interested in (Mediation, Collaborative Divorce, or Litigation)
- Ask friends/family/clergy for referrals
- Ask professional contacts for referrals (counselor, financial professional)
- Perform an Internet Search (e.g., Family Law Mediation in Anaheim Hills)
- Consult with the California State Bar website to see if a particular attorney is in good standing
- Review websites for:
- Schedule a consultation
- Request client recommendations
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of:
- A hybrid model
- What areas do you specialize in?
- What is your experience in my preferred model?
- What can we expect the process to look like:
- Process milestones
- Number of in-person/online meetings
- Frequency and mode of communication (email, phone, letter)
- Professionals we will work with (attorney, paralegal/legal secretary)
- Billing practices
- What are your specific recommendations for making the process as smooth as possible?
- What documentation will be needed?
- Given my situation, how much do you expect the entire process to cost?
- What retainer or payment options are available?
- What is the expected timeline for completing this process?
Preparation for any Process
- Gather all separate and joint financial records including
- Tax returns
- Pay stubs
- Statements on assets, debts, insurance programs
- Healthcare benefits statements
- Trust and/or partnership/business interest documents
- Household/Valuable assessments
- Prenuptial and/or post nuptial Agreements
- Consider what is most important to you:
- Long-term relationships, financial preservation, child custody/visitation, speed, confidentiality, control, etc.
Get started with Divorceify’s FREE DivorceGPS tool which will give you customized recommendations including ways to get divorced and divorce professionals that might be a good fit for you to hire. Get your customized recommendations here!
To schedule a free, one-hour case assessment consultation contact Family Peacekeeper at familypeacemaker.com or 714-283-3400. Family Peacekeeper helps struggling families de-escalate conflict and restore peace DURING and AFTER the divorce process.