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What To Do First

No matter who wants the marriage to end, you'll need all the grit you have to turn emotions like anger, fear and sorrow into positive energy to manage your divorce successfully. You may feel your world is falling apart, but begin building your new life immediately. Even before you take legal action, take charge of the divorce process. Approach your divorce as you would a new job. This is no time to fall apart. Get organized. Get going.
  • Read, learn, listen, talk -- for divorce resources and divorce support.

    1. Browse through the library stacks or the shelves of your local bookstore for information on divorce. Check out our bookshelf for books on divorce.

    2. Research on the Internet. Comprehensive state-by-state information can be found at Divorce Source and Divorcenet.

    3. Call everyone you trust who has been through a divorce and ask for practical advice. Don't be shy.

  • Get divorce paperwork in order - copy important papers and keep copies in a secure place.

    1. Critical financial papers: tax returns, insurance policies and statements from banks, investment accounts, salaries and benefit programs.

    2. Property records: personal property, shared business interests, mortgages, deeds, titles, records of debt and related correspondence.

    3. Personal papers: marriage certificate, all legal actions.

  • Know what you have.

    1. Inventory safety deposit boxes and valuable possessions.

    2. Hire professional property evaluators. Fees are tax deductible.

  • Keep track of information.

    1. Start a diary.

    2. Record in detail phone calls, meetings and financial transactions related to divorce.

    3. Set up a filing system. Even cardboard boxes will do.

  • School yourself in divorce.

    1. Learn about division of property, alimony, child support

    2. Set ground rules for separation: who stays, who leaves, who cares for the children.

    3. Enroll in a divorce education program.

  • Manage your emotions.

    1. Hold off on major life decisions.

    2. Base decisions on research, not emotion.

    3. Give yourself time to understand what is happening.

    4. Seek professional help when things get rough.

    5. Know you are not alone.

Actions When Divorcing

What To Do First
3 Ways to End Your Marriage
Learn Your Divorce ABC's
Find and Maintain Your Lawyer
Managing Your Lawyer
How To Avoid A Court Trial
If You Choose Mediation
If You Choose Arbitration
If You Choose Collaborative Law
How To Prepare For Alternative Dispute Resolution
If You Choose To Go To Trial
"Knowledge Is Powerful" Check List
Who Gets What Where
Know What Your Marriage Is Worth
Pensions: 12 Worst Mistakes Lawyers Make
7 Key Questions To Ask About Retirement Benefits
Divorce and the Military
Hidden Assets and How To Find Them
Taxes And Divorce
Divorce and Dividing Debt
When To File For Bankruptcy
Protect Your Credit Rating
What About Your Children?
Emergency Court Orders
Appealing or Modifying Your Final Divorce Decree
Financial Transitions of Divorce
Divorce and Hard Assets
Divorce and Soft Assets

10 Ways To Feel Better Fast
How Friends And Family Can Help
Join A Group
Handle 'Divorce Anger'
Keep a Journal
Do You Need A Religious Divorce?

Ways To Move On