If you are ready to branch off on your own, it can be a very emotionally charged time. Take a step back when you are feeling calm and consider your options. If you have determined that you would like to dissolve your marriage but are uncertain of the appropriate steps to take, consider the following steps for planning for divorce (not necessarily in this order):
- If you share an email account, set up one for yourself that you can use to communicate with professionals that may be assisting you. Depending on your situation, you may also want to establish a P.O. Box.
- Organize your financial documents. Make sure you have copies of everything.
- Engage an attorney. You do not have to choose the first one you call. Ask them questions and see if their practice philosophy is aligned with your own values. Understand their fee structure and determine who you will feel most comfortable working with. For additional information about selecting an attorney, check out "How to Select a Divorce Attorney."
- Engage a financial professional. For most who go through a divorce, it will be one of the largest financial transactions of their lives. It is critical to get some advice from a financial professional to make sure you are maximizing your marital estate.
- If you are having difficulty moving forward, engage a mental health professional. This may even be covered by your medical insurance. A mental health professional can help you to process the dramatic changes that are happening in your life so you can more quickly move on to the next chapter.
Please note: It will save you a substantial amount of money if you engage each professional in their area of expertise. For example, if you need a shoulder to cry on, it will cost a lot more and be less beneficial if you go to your attorney rather than going to a mental health professional.