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  • Writer's pictureLauryn Lauderdale

What To Do Before Divorce.

No one gets married with the intention of divorce. Unfortunately, the number of marriages that ended in divorce per 1,000 first marriages for women 18 and older, was 15.4 in 2016, according to research by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at the Bowling Green State University. Once you have made the decision that divorce is the right choice for you, there are five things you must do before filing for divorce to protect yourself and your children.

1. Try Counseling. All marriages go through rough patches. Even John Travolta said that his marriage to Kelly Preston would have ended in divorce if they had not tried counseling. Sometimes couples need a therapist to help them work through issues. If you have children, it is imperative to give counseling a chance because divorce can have a devasting impact on children.

2. Save Money. Divorces are expensive, especially considering attorneys fees, court costs, court-ordered mediation and litigation expenses, such as depositions. In addition, the family income generally does not increase after a divorce, but the expenses do – the same amount of income must support two households.

3. Document Everything. Start keeping records of finances, both income and spending. Organize pay stubs, bank statements, mortgages, deeds, stocks, IRAs and pensions. If you suspect your spouse is having an affair, be sure to save incrimination photos, text messages and emails.

4. Prepare for Custody Battle. Create a journal of the time that you spend with your children, who takes them to school, who picks them up, who takes them to soccer practice or other extra-curricular activities, who prepares meals and for younger children, who changes the diapers,who feeds them, who gives them a bath, and who cuts their fingernails.

5. Hire an Attorney. Do not try to be your own attorney. Even in the rare circumstances when the husband and wife agree completely, the unrepresented party should have their own attorney review the settlement agreement. It is always more expensive to fix mistakes through a modification of a divorce than it is to get it right the first time.

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