It takes a lot of reflection and internal strength to make the decision to get a divorce from your partner. Even once you’ve found the courage to make this life-changing decision, it can be overwhelming to navigate the divorce process. If you’ve decided to legally separate from your spouse by getting a divorce, but you’re intimidated by the divorce process, here are the first steps you need to take according to a divorce attorney for women.
Ask a Divorce Attorney for Women: 4 Crucial First Steps to a Divorce
1. Inform Your Partner
The first person you need to talk to once you’ve made your decision is your spouse. If you’ve decided it’s time for the two of you to separate, you need to have an honest conversation with your spouse to inform them of your decision. You may want to discuss why you wish to get a divorce and make some decisions together about how to care for your children during the divorce process. This may include seeking new temporary living arrangements for one or both of you.
Try your best to treat your spouse with respect during this conversation and throughout the divorce process. Conflict and confrontation can contribute to a lengthier divorce process and complicate child custody. If you’re concerned that your conversation may cause a scene, you may want to consider speaking with your spouse in a public space, such as a restaurant.
Make Arrangements with a Local Women’s Shelter
Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, it may be challenging to have a safe, open conversation with your partner. If you’re afraid of how your partner will respond and fear for your safety or your children’s safety, we recommend visiting a local women’s shelter, first. Securing a safe refuge for you and your children should be your first priority in the event you are leaving a situation of abuse.
2. Inform Your Children
If you and your spouse have children, breaking the news to them can be the most challenging part of the divorce process. If your relationship with your spouse is stable enough to do so, it’s best to discuss the best way to inform the children together. You’ll want to let your kids know what’s happening and assure them that your separation isn’t their fault and won’t impact how much you and your spouse love or care for them.
Showing respect for your children’s other parent during the divorce process is the best way to ensure a healthy relationship with your children in the future. Not only does this set a good example for your kids, but it will also help your case when it comes to establishing custody.
3. Create a Separation Agreement
Even before you seek out a legal divorce, setting out the terms of your separation in the form of a separation agreement is recommended. In some cases, the agreement may be straightforward and can be completed without conflict. Other times, considerable negotiation may be required. Either way, negotiating a separation agreement before beginning the divorce process will help cut back on costs and make the divorce process easier to navigate.
Consider Seeking Legal Advice
For most couples who are getting divorced, a separation agreement is usually put in place before they begin the divorce process. If your partner is particularly contentious, it may not be possible to do this without legal assistance. If you’re looking to file for divorce and can’t agree on the terms dealing with child or spousal support, child custody, or how to deal with your assets and liabilities, then you should contact Columbus, OH divorce attorneys for women.
4. Apply for Divorce
In Ohio, you must apply to the court for a divorce. A divorce application must be filed in the Supreme Court of Ohio or a Family Court branch of the Ohio Judicial System. There are different applications you’ll need to use to file for a divorce, though not every form will be applicable to your case. There are different forms for divorces with or without children, and there are forms specifically for divorce with unresolved issues (which are likely to be contested) and forms for marriage dissolution (where both parties are mutually seeking divorce and all issues have already been agreed upon).
Hire a Lawyer
Not sure which forms apply to your specific situation? It’s always wise to consult with a divorce attorney if you’re uncertain about a step in the process.
Making the decision to end your marriage is a difficult one, and these steps are just the beginning of what can sometimes be a lengthy process. It’s important to take the time to really consider your options before moving forward. In the end, if you decide that divorce is the best decision for you, your partner, and your children, hiring a professional lawyer is the best way to ensure you get a fair outcome.