Helpful Tips

If you are unhappy with your marriage, but can’t decide about divorce, try marriage counseling, or counseling alone. Talk about it with people you trust.

Once you – or your spouse – have decided on divorce, seek emotional (and financial) support from family, friends, and mental health practitioners.

Don’t let your spouse tell you that you can’t make it on your own – you can if you choose to.

Go to a support group for divorcing parents. If your children are old enough to benefit from counseling, encourage them to seek help, just as you are. Find out if your health insurance – or that of your spouse – will cover mental health treatment.

Research your debts and financial resources. Prepare detailed financial records for your attorney, and bring supporting documents to the first meeting.

Be ready to discuss your desired outcomes with your attorney, such as sole custody, shared parenting, child support, spousal support (alimony), and division of property and debts. Identify “bargaining chips” – areas for compromise.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on parenting issues, the court may order mediation. Your children may also get their own Guardian ad Litem or attorney. An older child could be interviewed by the Judge about the child’s custody preferences.

Find a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable. If you can’t afford the one you like, ask her if she would agree to a payment plan. If your spouse makes a lot more money than you do, the court may order your spouse to help with your legal fees. (Or, call Mom and Dad for a loan.)