The answer to this question really depends upon whether or not you and your spouse have children. If you do have children, your first priority should be ensuring a peaceful transition for them. Just as divorce is hard on the couple themselves, it is particularly difficult for children who are keenly aware of the turmoil surrounding familial problems, but lack the emotional maturity to interpret and fully understand what is happening. Creating a plan with your spouse that outlines the process for transitioning to a two-house family is vital. This plan should include a temporary custodial timeshare and a full understanding of each parent’s responsibilities in the next few weeks or, if possible, months. This will provide stability which will prove instrumental in helping your children through the next stage in their lives.
If you do not have children, you should immediately begin examining your assets and debts so that you understand your financial picture. There will be a lot of changes in the next few months, both emotionally and financially. For many, the emotional trauma of divorce is exacerbated by financial “unknowns,” so getting a handle on that aspect as quickly as possible is crucial. If you need financial support, discuss this with your spouse, and if your spouse refuses to help, hire an attorney. Begin the divorce process as soon as possible – this serves to preserve your separation date and prevents later litigation as to the nature and characterization of assets and debts. Getting started quickly also tends to preserve any reimbursement claims you may have. As always, contacting an experienced family lawyer to help guide you through the process will be invaluable.
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