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Are you thinking of pulling the plug on your marriage?


Courtesy of HBO

Sarah Jessica Parker’s new show “Divorce” on HBO which aired on October 9th introduces us to Frances (Parker), a corporate headhunter with two children. She is an unhappy, middle-aged, and a disconnected woman thinking about pulling the plug on her marriage? Is this you?

If it is, you’re not alone. As the show will further detail many women find themselves at a point in their marriage where they are fed up with their spouses, feel washed up, worn out, and just depleted. This is not living life. Breaking up a marriage, however, is no easy task. It can be painful emotionally and financially.

The idea of divorce is daunting. Where do you start? What do you do? Where do you go?

Whom do you trust?

As a psychologically-trained divorce attorney for over 35 years I encourage all women who find themselves in this position to “take the first step.” First take a deep breath, and trust yourself. Tell yourself, it’s going to be okay. Ask yourself what you want and find the right professionals to guide you through. I know it’s scary. But you don’t have to do this alone. Choosing the right support system will help you navigate successfully through your divorce.

  1. Choose a divorce attorney/mediator.

Talk to girlfriends, fellow professionals, research online, look at divorce blogs, read lots of reviews, ask for referrals. Consider a divorce attorney who is also a mediator. This way if you can approach your divorce amicably, without having to go to court, your will have the benefits of a skilled divorce attorney, as well as the collaborative behaviors of a mediator.

  1. Make a list of the questions you would like to ask your Attorney/Mediator.

The reason you go to an Attorney/Mediator is so that you are correctly informed of all the hurdles you have to overcome in the Divorce process. Therefore, no question is too small or trivial. It is important that you are as well informed as you can be and asking the Attorney the questions to which you want answers is an integral part of that process.

  1. Consider what you want.

People get divorced and hope to move on with their lives in as positive a way as possible. Considering how you wish to do this is important. If, for example, you have no desire to stay in the marital home but would like to see your children at least twice a week, it is important that your attorney knows this. If the attorney knows what you want from the get-go, they’ll be able to represent you to the best of their abilities.

  1. Tax Returns

This is usually very standard. Lawyers will most likely request the last 3 years of Tax Returns from a client, so you should be prepared. Tax returns are used in conjunction with pay stubs and other evidence in the calculation of spousal and child support.

  1. Pay Stubs

Spousal Support and Child Support are calculated by income including what you and your partner earn and therefore evidence of this aides the Attorney in assessing whether you are entitled to or should be giving spousal and child support and how much.

  1. Bank Statements and Credit Cards

There may be debt from the marriage and there may be substantial assets including retirement accounts, sitting in accounts. Either way, it is important that these are fully disclosed to your Attorney so that they can assist you with the resolution. Reviewing bank statements and credit card statements is very useful. I often recommend that clients summarize these so that I am able to get an accurate overview as quickly as possible.

  1. Property

Any copies of deeds to property, mortgages or equity loans are something that should eventually be brought to your attorney. Division of property is an essential part of the process, so disclosing this at first instance is very helpful to a Divorce Lawyer.

  1. Benefits

Benefits are often ignored but are, in my experience, a prevalent part of any divorce settlement.

  • employee benefits
  • retirement plans
  • bonuses
  • life insurance
  • health insurance

If you are looking for an attorney/mediator to help you navigate your divorce so it’s not a train wreck (as seen on the HBO “Divorce” series) call me. I can help! 212.734.1551.

Don’t be afraid to take the first step!