JANUARY’S FOCUS: DISCONTINUING A MARRIAGE
January 10th, 2017 by Marta J. Papa
FIVE WAYS TO GET DIVORCED
PART 2: THE INITIAL STEPS
Once you have decided with certainty that a divorce is in your best interest, I recommend three imperative initial steps:
- Back off from social media
- Begin to document, document, document
- Consult with an attorney
The first step is essential! If you are unhappy in your marriage, it is not unusual for others to know about it…especially if you are inclined to share personal information on Facebook and other social media sites. Yet, once you allow yourself an online social platform, you are choosing to dismiss your expectation of privacy, i.e. what goes on social media stays on social media. So remove yourself from the scrutiny of others during this time of transition.
The second step is to begin documenting important information that will assist your lawyer in serving your needs. Such marital issues as property owned, debts incurred, existent banking accounts opened, and, of course, children involved are all factors in getting proper legal representation. In addition, if children are involved, a record of their activities, schools attended, daily routines, and amount of usual contact with each parent will prove most helpful going forward. Attending to these first two steps will signal the certainty of your decision to divorce.
Now to the third step: choosing a divorce attorney. In selecting an attorney for legal direction, most couples begin by asking friends, relatives, and co-workers for recommendations. Oftentimes, the people in your personal/intimate sphere will have either used a divorce attorney in the past or have friends and family who have done so. This is certainly an obvious place to start in finding legal counsel to suit your needs. In addition, if you have sought professional therapy in the past or are currently working with a therapist, you can often receive recommendations for lawyers from his/her office.
At times, of course, couples may not have access to a personal referral/recommendation for a divorce lawyer and, therefore, must resort to an online search. Yet, by reviewing an attorney’s website, you often will be able to discern if the person is appropriate for your needs. Assess the attorney’s educational background, legal focus, practice philosophy, awards/distinctions, and testimonials for an overview and see who gets your attention. Check the attorney’s rating with Martindale-Hubbell. They should have an AV rating (the highest rating for ethical standards). You might also see if the attorney or firm is the recipient of the Preeminent Lawyer distinction. In addition, to the lawyer’s training and reputation, it is important for you to have confidence in and a good rapport with the attorney you select to assist you with your divorce proceedings.