Divorce: What Are the Steps?

If this is your first marriage, you may be at a loss for how to get started filing for divorce. Most people are unprepared for this eventuality, as marriages are usually an expression of hope for a long future together. Depending on how entangled your lives are, divorce can also be incredibly complicated. Take the following steps to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Think About Why: Few people are 100% sure about ending their marriage. Some people may even question their decision if the marriage is too new or involves years of dedication. If you’re considering divorce, the why could be that your spouse is abusive—a cut-and-dry situation. However, if you’re having problems communicating or meeting each other’s needs, these issues could be solved by seeing a licensed therapist. If your differences are unsolvable, or you no longer love or respect your spouse, it may be time to get a divorce.​

2. Talk to Your Spouse: Talking to your spouse about wanting a divorce will probably be the hardest part of the whole process. If you don’t think your spouse knows how unhappy you are, your decision may come as a shock to him or her. Once you’ve decided on divorce as the only possible solution to your relationship problems, you need to pick an appropriate time and place to discuss it with your spouse. If his or her family member just passed away, or he or she just lost a job, it may not be the best time to bring up a divorce discussion.

Make sure when you do tell your spouse, you both have the time and space to have a calm and extended talk. Depending on the temperament of your spouse, he or she may have an emotional reaction. Be prepared for anger, grief, dismay, even apathy once you bring up the divorce. Your spouse may even try and talk you out of making such a “rash” decision. You’ve had time to think about it; now give your spouse that same time. He or she needs to process this enormous life change.

Keep from making any major decisions about children or property until you both sit down with legal representation.

3. Find a Lawyer

Both you and your spouse should find an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the divorce. The entire process will be easier the more you communicate, so it is best to be as amicable with each other as possible. Having a representative will make it easier to stick to relevant details. A good divorce attorney will also know which documents to file with the state and how.

4. Talk to Your Kids

If you have children, divorce becomes more complicated. To ensure your kids adjust well to the divorce, make sure they are well informed of what is happening and, if appropriate, why. Many kids are concerned the divorce is their fault. Reassure your children the divorce has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you and your spouse. Make sure your children understand the level of love each parent has for them will not be affected by the divorce. If you’ve already spoken to a lawyer, you may have decided on physical and legal custody. Ensure your children know with whom they will be living, or if they’ll be sharing time between parents, how living arrangements will work.

While divorce can be messy and complicated, it doesn’t have to be. Make sure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible. Call The Law Office of Janet McCullar, P.C. at (512) 342-9933 or fill out ouronline form to schedule a meeting with an Austin divorce attorney.

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