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Is your New Year's resolution to divorce?

The start of a new year always brings a spike in the number of divorce cases across the country. Statistics prove that at least one in every five married couples is considering divorce immediately after the festive season.

If your marriage is ending, there are some things you can do to ensure that the divorce doesn't bring you too much trauma. Taking the right steps up-front can make the entire separation a more peaceful, drama-free, and fair process. Below are some tips to help you prepare if you find yourself among those that will divorce in 2018.

Find a good divorce attorney

A divorce lawyer will guide you through the entire process, helping you manage the legal and financial aspects of divorce during this difficult time. Check out client reviews and testimonials before you settle on a particular attorney who focuses on family law.

Educate yourself from a reliable source

Take an active role in your divorce from the beginning of the process. Prepare a list of questions for your attorney so you can be fully informed of your legal options. For example, is an uncontested divorce a possibility? Do you know the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce, and the pros and cons of each?

Learning more can help you and your attorney establish your goals and ideal outcomes from the outset. Beware of advice from non-attorneys, who may have the best intentions but are unaware of the many options in divorce.

Explore a more collaborative process

There are plenty of choices when it comes to divorce. Even if you are filing a contested divorce, much of the work can be done outside of court. Mediation may save you time, money and stress. An uncontested divorce may be a possibility, although the majority of divorces are contested. Consider honestly your relationship, your goals and your family and figure out where there are potential areas of agreement.

Focus on the big picture

The most crucial tip on preparing for your divorce is staying focused on the bigger picture. Remember that any decision you make throughout the entire process will affect you and your children for many years to come. Don't focus so much on being "right" or on ending the process as quickly as possible. Instead, try to get through this difficult time with your legal and financial rights protected. Focus on what is essential, including your kids and your financial future.

Gather documents ASAP

Gather your last paystubs to help you assess some of the crucial financial issues that may play a big role in your divorce case, particularly with regard to child support. Be sure to collect all your credit card bills, bank statements, and your previous year's tax returns. Make these documents available to your lawyer as soon as possible.

With proper planning and the right mindset, divorce can be a long-term positive for the future, even if it is difficult right now. We hope 2018 is a good year for you.

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