Plan ahead as much as you can with your partner, prior to the separation if possible. This planning may include:
-- how to tell the children
-- other basic principles where the children are involved
-- a plan of action on how to work out the terms of the separation
-- organization of your finances.
Get legal advice at the outset, so you don't take action that inadvertently results in long-term legal implications.
Consult with a mediator to explore whether mediation would be appropriate to help you work out the terms of your separation.
Visit a Family Law Information Center (at one of the courts where these centers are now available) to get information about resources available to you and your children to help you through the divorce process.
Attend a parenting information session for separated parents to get information on how the separation will emotionally affect both you and your children. Ask staff at your local family court for information about these seminars in your area. Understanding the emotional process that you will go through in a separation, and taking action to help you cope, will result in your being more emotionally prepared to make the decisions necessary to finalize the terms of your separation in an efficient and timely manner.
Maggie Hall, MSW, Acc.FM (OAFM) provides mediation, custody assessments and counseling for families of separation and divorce from a Burlington-based office.
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