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10 Tips to Help Your Divorce Go Smoothly

Divorce is an emotional and difficult time. One of the most important things you can do for making the process less painful is to seek out the right divorce help.

If you plan to hire a lawyer, find someone you're comfortable with. If you plan to do it yourself, take a look at the following divorce information tips to help the process go smoothly:

  1. Gather all of your financial information. This includes paperwork on every bank account, investment, vehicle, piece of real estate, retirement account, life insurance policies, ownership in a business, cash and any personal items that are worth money, such as jewelry or artwork. Also include your tax returns for at least the past three years.
  2. Create an inventory. In one column, list the value of all of your assets. In another column, list all your debts, including credit card balances, mortgages, car payments, student loans and business loans.
  3. In creating your inventory, don't forget your spouse's retirement accounts. Even if you and your spouse are not near retirement age, you may be entitled to claim a portion of your spouse's retirement.
  4. Don't let family and friends influence you. Laws vary from state to state and every divorce is different. Make decisions based on what you feel is best in your situation.
  5. Don't let yourself be rushed. Take time to think about what you want in terms of division of the assets and other issues.
  6. Don't forget about tax issues going forward. Make sure you work out which spouse will claim the children as dependents, who will pay taxes on alimony and child support payments and similar issues. Consult a tax advisor.
  7. Remember that your lawyer charges by the hour. The more information you can give the lawyer up front, the less time she will have to spend asking for it.
  8. Pick your battles. If you fight your spouse on every issue, the process will drag on and you will both spend a lot of money on lawyer fees. Try to set aside your emotions and think about what's really most important to you.
  9. Don't cave in on something important just to avoid further conflict. You will regret it.
  10. Remember that everyone going through divorce has moments of doubt. Stay focused and don't let emotions impact your decisions.

Where to Find Divorce Help

If you are emotionally struggling with your divorce or need to vent, consider joining a divorce support group. Check with your city hall, local library or church to see if they offer support services. If you have a particular need, you're likely to find support groups that focus on offering Christian divorce help, support for divorcing parents, assistance for seniors coping with divorce and more.