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Key practical questions to consider before a divorce

Everyone asks a multitude of questions before he or she makes the decision to end a marriage. Some are emotional ones, perhaps discussed in therapy -- either with or without your spouse. Others are very practical ones. They will likely be asked by your family law attorney, often before the process begins.

An important consideration is how you will get by financially during the divorce. It's important to have an independent source of income as well as credit to cover living expenses and pay attorney's fees. Be prepared in case your estranged spouse drains or closes accounts. However, you also don't want to rack up debt that you can't pay back. A good credit score will be essential when you're on your own.

Another practical question to consider is what kind of lifestyle you're looking for after the divorce. For most people, some kind of downsizing will be necessary. It's a simple fact that living alone on one income isn't as cost-efficient as two people living on two incomes. For most people, however, that's a secondary consideration to getting out of an unhappy marriage.

Nonetheless, it's important to determine how much money you need to support yourself and your children, if you have them. This will help your attorney know how much to ask for in spousal and child support. People who make considerably less than their spouses or who are stay-at-home parents may need additional support for awhile.

Finally, you need to ask yourself if you are able to keep your emotions from controlling your decision-making during the divorce. This is another area where experienced family law attorneys are important. They can help bring people back to practical considerations when all they want to do is hurt or get back at their spouse. It may feel better to try to get everything you can from him or her, but it doesn't lead to good decisions -- or a healthy state of mind.

Partnering with a good family law attorney who understands how painful the situation is for you but always keeps your best interests at the forefront is key. He or she can also likely recommend financial advisors, therapists, support groups and others who can help you during and after your divorce.

Source: Huffington Post, "10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Ending Your Marriage," Brittany Wong, Sep. 10, 2015

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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