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Divorce basics at a glance

It is important to understand that while the emotional process of divorce is almost always complex, the legal aspects of the divorce process do not need to be. Unless you and your spouse fundamentally disagree on matters of property division or child custody, it is possible to achieve a relatively straightforward divorce settlement.

No matter what the particulars of your situation are, you and your spouse are the deciding factors in how your divorce process will progress. If you can both agree to an amicable process, your divorce process can be achieved amicably. And even if you and your spouse are navigating some fundamental differences, you and your attorney can work to make your divorce process as pain-free as is possible.

The basics

Ending a marriage requires both a legal dissolution of your marriage and a personal transition to single life. While loved ones, a trusted counselor and your own inner voice are best positioned to help you through the latter, an experienced attorney is best positioned to help you through the former. As a result, it is important to retain the services of an attorney who is a good "fit" for the kind of process you wish to pursue.

Not all divorces need to be expensive affairs. In fact, even complex divorce processes can remain economically reasonable if all parties are willing to avoid petty squabbling. If you can prioritize those matters worth fighting for and set aside those that aren't, you can keep your attorney's billable hours low and your wallet from emptying unnecessarily.

The most successful approach

Chances are that you are dealing with some tough emotions as you adjust to the idea of divorcing your spouse. You have every reason to feel challenged by this reality. But it is important that you process these emotions away from the negotiating table whenever possible. One of the greatest missteps you can make during your divorce is allowing your strong emotions to guide you while negotiating. Emotional responses can cause you to ramp up the costs of your divorce, waste valuable energy, fight for things that will ultimately harm you or your kids, give up property that is precious to you, etc.

In addition, it is important to discuss any concerns you have with your attorney. Your attorney's most pressing duty is to advocate on your behalf. He or she cannot do that successfully if you are not communicating your questions and concerns when they arise.

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