You haven’t broken up yet, or broke up only recently. This is good, because the earlier you start, the easier it is to heal wounds and lay a foundation for a smoother trip. The way you go about doing things now will have a powerful influence on how things work out in your future—for better or worse.
Solutions common to Early, Easy and Difficult cases
- Your goal is to solve problems and settle issues without taking problems to court or hiring an attorney to represent you and “take” your case. Your goal is to end up with an Easy Case or, if your case is already easy, to keep it that way.
- Read my article, The Good Divorce, so you will have a model to keep in mind and a clear idea of things you can try to accomplish to make (or keep) your divorce peaceful.
- Get my free Divorce Checklist and start working on those items.
- Become informed. Studies show that the single most important factor in a good divorce outcome is (1) becoming informed and prepared, and (2) being an active participant in your own case. That’s what it means to “Do Your Own Divorce.”
- California. If your case is in California, get How to Do Your Own Divorce in California and read a summary of California divorce laws, decisions you need to make and advice about how to make them. It includes step-by-step instructions for the paperwork to get your judgment with all the forms you’ll need to do it.
- All other states. Go to the Reading Room and read my two articles: How to Do Your Own Divorce, and How to Learn About the Law in Your State.
- Get organized. As soon as you can, organize your facts, gather supporting documents. Start thinking about how to divide marital property, how much spousal support should be paid (if any), and how children will be supported and parented after separation or divorce. I created a set of Divorce Worksheets that will help you organize, think about and discuss the facts and finances in your case. Working with them will give you greater confidence in dealing with your divorce and will definitely save you time and money. These same worksheets come free with my California How to Do Your Own Divorce book, or Make Any Divorce Better or you can get them separately.
- Learn problem solving. If things are difficult—or might get difficult—get my book, Make Any Divorce Better and learn about the specific things you can do to smooth things out and keep them that way. The things you can do for yourself are far more effective than anything any attorney can do for you. As advised in that book:
- Best not to talk to your spouse about divorce until you learn how to communicate in a way that will help reduce conflict, create a foundation for negotiation, and how to negotiate effectively.
- Best not go to an attorney until you are informed and prepared—unless, that is, you face an emergency. Read What’s an emergency? Before you visit an attorney, you want to have already organized your facts and documents and know what kind of attorney you want to choose, what questions you want to ask, and what you can and cannot expect from an attorney. To learn about various types of attorneys and other professional divorce services, read my free article Who Can I Call?