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A Single 10 Step Divorce Plan to Help You Move Forward

There’s no easy way to get divorced, but following these basic steps of divorce plan (in no particular order) can provide some assistance to help this transition be as smooth as possible.

  1. Safety – In many instances, the want or need for divorce is based on a history of domestic abuse in the marriage. When members of a family have been victims of violence within the household it is imperative to seek protection and ask a court to grant a restraining order. Often times, shelters will provide this service for abused spouses and their children.
  2. Co-Parent – Learn how to share and have reasonable expectations when it comes to co-parenting from two different households. Remember, should you need the assistance of the court to help you design a co-parenting plan and schedule, a judge will make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the children. Often times, the decision of the court will not necessarily be aligned with your own plan. Therefore, it is always best for the parents to work out their own co-parenting plan; after all, the best thing for the children is them witnessing their parents getting along and working together.
  3. Take Inventory – in all likelihood, each party brought assets and property into the marriage, and accrued assets and property during the marriage. Make a list of all personal property, bank accounts, real property, pensions, benefits, keepsakes, furniture, photographs, businesses, cd’s, stocks and bonds and determine which assets are separate property and which are community property. This will take same time, and you need to be thorough. In an ideal situation, the parties will amicably decide who gets what and enter into a marital settlement agreement, which will make dividing property an easy task.
  4. Allocate debt – while taking inventory, do not forget about the debt that has accrued during the marriage. Who will be responsible for what debt should also be included in a settlement agreement.
  5. Embrace Independence – moving from a partnership to a single life can feel awkward during and after a divorce, especially after a long-term marriage, but learn to embrace this newfound freedom and independence. Joining a support group where you congregate with people similarly situated will help. Another important aspect of being independent means learning how to provide for yourself. Even if you receive alimony, this is temporary as a court will only order one spouse to pay alimony for one half the amount of time of the life of the marriage. The sooner you find gainful employment the more independent you will be.
  6. Counseling – going through a divorce will be draining on many different levels. Do not hesitate to seek out legal, spiritual, emotional, and financial counseling. What tools you may not have, others will be equipped with.
  7. Healthy Living – do not let the stress of divorce take a toll on your health. Exercise, eat right, get plenty of sleep, and do not be afraid to take time to pamper yourself.
  8. Take Responsibility – Accept what went wrong in the marriage and try not to harbor feelings of resentment. Take responsibility for contributions that led to divorce and learn to forgive, as this will help to move forward.
  9. Negotiate – Being overly stubborn does not accomplish much. The longer you fight, the longer the divorce proceedings will last, and the longer it will take to move forward. Cut your losses and be willing to bend a little. At this point, you will be tired of fighting, so figuring out how to get to “yes” will be the most refreshing aspect of divorce.
  10. Reorganize – If there was a will, trust, insurance policy, or any other document wherein you and your former spouse were each other’s beneficiaries, then you will need to reorganize any and all important estate planning documents.

Though these steps are helpful, it is not the best idea to attempt going through a divorce alone. It is difficult to keep emotions balanced, which is why consulting with a qualified group of family law attorneys is essential.