What initial steps should I take if I’m considering divorce?


1

Hire a Coach

Guidance, Support, Clarity, Confidence, and Emotional Strength

If you are considering divorce, you may be feeling a rollercoaster of emotions. You may be uncertain, confused, and overwhelmed, which often leads to being frozen in inaction. This can be a very isolating time and without the right support, the effects of these feelings can bleed over into other areas of your life and wreak havoc on your emotional, mental, and even physical well-being. You can talk to your family and friends, but they often have their own biased opinions about your situation they feel free to share and may not provide you a safe, neutral space to help you process your feelings or share sensitive information confidentially. A divorce coach can help you process your emotions, make the decisions about whether you want to stay or want to go if you are unclear, and help you make the decision with eyes wide open – that is, with a fuller picture of what it would look like to move forward with divorcing.  As your coach, I can help you with a myriad of issues as you work to repair the marriage or move forward through the divorce and into your next chapter.


2

Gather Relevant Financial Documents

Get Prepared

In order to prepare to receive some preliminary legal advice and education on what it would be like, financially, to divorce, you should gather at least the following financial documents, if possible, for each spouse:

  • Tax returns for the last 3 years
  • W-2s and/or 1099s for the last 3 years
  • Pay stubs for the last 2 months
  • Current bank statements
  • Current retirement account statements
  • Current mortgage statement
  • Year-to-date profit and loss statement of either party is self-employed

These documents will allow an attorney to have a basic understanding of your financial circumstances and assist you in making some preliminary assessments about property division and child and spousal support in your situation.


3

Consult a Family Law Attorney

Bring in an Expert

I often hear from coaching clients, “Well, I don’t know if I need an attorney.” It is always a good idea to at least have a consultation with an experienced family law attorney in your area so you can get educated on the divorce process and expected timeline, have your questions answered, and learn about issues that may exist in your case you had perhaps not even been aware of that need to be addressed. Do not equate the value of a consultation with a family law attorney with your ability to do a Google search on divorce-related topics or ask a friend what happened in their divorce. On occasion, I have had clients in my litigation practice tell me they read this or that on the internet or that their friend told them this or that and whatever that advice was was almost always wrong and caused the client to have misinformed expectations.

Many attorneys offer free consultations, so there can be no cost downside to just obtaining the information they have to share. I have had many potential clients tell me at the end of our consultations that they just felt better and relieved because they had learned so much on our call and it helped put their mind at ease as to what to expect as they move through the case, regardless of whether they decided to move forward with legal representation. It can also help eliminate a spouse’s ability to effectively intimidate or control you with threats they cannot legally carry out. (Think: “I am going to take the kids away from you!” Or, “If you leave, you will never get spousal support from me!”)

Finally, it is less expensive to hire a qualified attorney to do the job right the first time than to pay one later to try to undo and redo what you did wrong on your own.  I help clients build their divorce team if they do not already have one so they get the best support and advice possible in the process.

1 – Hire a Coach

Guidance, Support, Clarity, Confidence, and Emotional Strength

If you are considering divorce, you may be feeling a rollercoaster of emotions. You may be uncertain, confused, and overwhelmed, which often leads to being frozen in inaction. This can be a very isolating time and without the right support, the effects of these feelings can bleed over into other areas of your life and wreak havoc on your emotional, mental, and even physical well-being. You can talk to your family and friends, but they often have their own biased opinions about your situation they feel free to share and may not provide you a safe, neutral space to help you process your feelings or share sensitive information confidentially. A divorce coach can help you process your emotions, make the decisions about whether you want to stay or want to go if you are unclear, and help you make the decision with eyes wide open – that is, with a fuller picture of what it would look like to move forward with divorcing. As your coach, I can help you with a myriad of issues as you work to repair the marriage or move forward through the divorce and into your next chapter.

2 – Gather Relevant Financial Documents

Get Prepared

In order to prepare to receive some preliminary legal advice and education on what it would be like, financially, to divorce, you should gather at least the following financial documents, if possible, for each spouse:

  • Tax returns for the last 3 years
  • W-2s and/or 1099s for the last 3 years
  • Pay stubs for the last 2 months
  • Current bank statements
  • Current retirement account statements
  • Current mortgage statement
  • Year-to-date profit and loss statement of either party is self-employed

These documents will allow an attorney to have a basic understanding of your financial circumstances and assist you in making some preliminary assessments about property division and child and spousal support in your situation.

3 – Consult a Family Law Attorney

Bring in an Expert

I often hear from coaching clients, “Well, I don’t know if I need an attorney.” It is always a good idea to at least have a consultation with an experienced family law attorney in your area so you can get educated on the divorce process and expected timeline, have your questions answered, and learn about issues that may exist in your case you had perhaps not even been aware of that need to be addressed. Do not equate the value of a consultation with a family law attorney with your ability to do a Google search on divorce-related topics or ask a friend what happened in their divorce. On occasion, I have had clients in my litigation practice tell me they read this or that on the internet or that their friend told them this or that and whatever that advice was was almost always wrong and caused the client to have misinformed expectations.

Many attorneys offer free consultations, so there can be no cost downside to just obtaining the information they have to share. I have had many potential clients tell me at the end of our consultations that they just felt better and relieved because they had learned so much on our call and it helped put their mind at ease as to what to expect as they move through the case, regardless of whether they decided to move forward with legal representation. It can also help eliminate a spouse’s ability to effectively intimidate or control you with threats they cannot legally carry out. (Think: “I am going to take the kids away from you!” Or, “If you leave, you will never get spousal support from me!”)

Finally, it is less expensive to hire a qualified attorney to do the job right the first time than to pay one later to try to undo and redo what you did wrong on your own.  I help clients build their divorce team if they do not already have one so they get the best support and advice possible in the process.

Contact Lauren

Schedule a Consultation

During our 30-minute consultation call, we will discuss what brings you to the call and explore what you would like to achieve through coaching.  Then, we will look at whether it makes sense to work together, and I will share the details of the coaching package options that suit your personal situation.