How to Properly Prepare for a Divorce

Robin M. Mermans, Esq
April 1, 2023

You probably never thought you’d have to research about the process of getting a divorce.

I can relate to that statement, as can most of my clients. Like many before me, I thought my marriage would last forever. Yet, sometimes circumstances change, people grow apart, and relationships end. That was the case for my ex-husband and me nearly 15 years ago when we realized our marriage was over. We separated amicably as we navigated through the waters of divorce and co-parenting. Yet, as the divorce process went on, it became challenging and adversarial. It also, unfortunately, caused unnecessary tension between us and our children.

Once our divorce was finalized, I knew that there had to be a better way to divorce, and I was on a mission to help others go through the process in a healthier manner. As I’ve shared in my personal story, I became a non-attorney mediator and founded ROAD to RESOLUTION in 2011. A few years later, I attended law school and earned a Juris Doctor. Now as a divorce mediation and collaborative family law attorney, I help couples divorce through proceedings that save time and money while avoiding unnecessary turmoil.

As I consult clients through the beginning of their divorce process, I often get asked how they can best prepare. It’s an important topic for those who are considering separation and/or divorce. Here are my top tips for getting ready for the divorce journey:

Consider Marriage Counseling

Okay… this likely isn’t what you’d expect to see in a blog about divorce, but it’s a fair point. One of the first questions I ask my clients is if they worked with a marriage counselor. If you’re considering separating and you’re not sure if your marriage is truly over just yet, I suggest that you consider counseling. A licensed family therapist can help you and your spouse talk about conflict, open lines of communication, and share feelings in a safe space. Even if you decide that your marriage is over and you’re ready to begin the divorce process, having gone through therapy can help during potentially difficult conversations.

Take Note of Documents

If you start to gather documents prior to hiring an attorney, you will likely be able to save time during the overall divorce process. It’s important that you have access to your bank statements and other joint accounts such as car payments, mortgage, phone bill, credit cards, insurance plans, etc. Knowing how to access this information will allow you to pull documents as necessary. In a previous blog, which you can read here, I shared information on when costs should be shared and when they should be split while in the separation process. This is helpful information as you take inventory of your finances, property, legal documents, and joint accounts.

Research Divorce Methods

There are many ways to get divorced and it’s imperative that you and your spouse decide on a proceeding that works for you and your family. In fact, I wrote a series of blogs about Divorce 101 in North Carolina that you can read here. Here at ROAD to RESOLUTION, our practice focuses on divorce mediation and collaborative family law. That means we work with clients who want to handle their divorces in an out-of-court method, also known as alternative dispute resolution proceedings. These processes are much different than litigation. My clients rarely step foot into a courtroom since their divorces are settled through resolution methods without the assistance of a judge. You can read more about the collaborative law divorce process by clicking here.

Begin Pre-Divorce Education

When my ex-husband and I started our divorce process, I received professional pre-divorce education counseling. This was extremely helpful as I needed a game plan for the overall journey. I am proud to offer this service at ROAD to RESOLUTION. While the concept of divorce is certainly overwhelming, pre-divorce education works to help a spouse understand the road ahead and prepare for what’s to come during the process such as housing, budgeting, co-parenting, and more. Pre-divorce education is also an opportunity to create a plan as you prepare for the next step and ultimately, the divorce journey.

Hire an Attorney

Now that you have an idea of the process and decided on the type of divorce method you’d like to use, it’s time to hire an attorney who is experienced in that type of proceeding. You’ll want to make sure your attorney shares similar values, is well-respected in the profession, and has positive reviews and testimonials. Your attorney will draft your separation agreement, file all necessary paperwork, and handle your divorce proceeding.

At ROAD to RESOLUTION, I am committed to serving my clients with sincerity, empathy, understanding, and support. With my unique personal perspective, I can relate to the feelings associated with separation, divorce, and co-parenting. When clients step into my office, I want them to know that they’re in a safe and honest place where we’ll work through their separation and divorce together. My law practice is able to offer tools and methods that fit individual families and allow for more control over the cost and outcome.

In addition to professional experience, I have wide-ranging personal experience. I’m now remarried and my husband and I have five children under two separate parenting agreements. Fueled by my personal passion to help families co-parent in harmony, ROAD to RESOLUTION also offers co-parenting guidance services. We truly believe in helping our clients through the entire divorce journey including before, during, and after.

Secure a Support System

No matter the type of divorce, you can expect it to come with challenges. The divorce process can be difficult for all involved, including your children. As you prepare for this journey, be sure to have a support system. This is a good opportunity to reach out to personal friends who have also been through a divorce or are currently co-parenting in a positive manner. I can’t stress enough how helpful it is to have a friend who you can call for a cup of coffee or glass of wine without worrying about judgement or unsolicited advice. Find a trusting friend that is able to listen and offer you their unwavering emotional support.

Remember That We’re Here to Help

The ROAD to RESOLUTION team can assist you every step of the way before, during, and after a divorce. We offer various services as you begin your divorce journey including pre-divorce education, separation agreements, and several divorce options. Please give us a call at (980) 260-1600 and we can discuss your legal opportunities through divorce mediation and collaborative family law. Our Charlotte-based team is here to help you and your family.

The ROAD to RESOLUTION Divorce Blog can help you differentiate the fact from the fiction, and guide you towards the support you need during this difficult time. Use our resources and services to find all the info you need—from pre-divorce education to drafting essential legal documents. Please contact us today to find out more about how we can help you.

Note: This blog is intended to be informational only and shall not be construed as legal advice.

Robin M. Mermans, Esq
Founder and Principal Attorney

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