The Ten Steps to Getting a Divorce – The Basic How-To Guide

Divorce is a complicated and stressful situation for everyone involved. And even if you decide divorce is the best decision for yourself and your family, the process of getting a divorce may feel daunting. However, there are specific steps you can take to ease the transition. Following these steps as you approach getting a divorce will help alleviate your apprehension about the process.

Here is the Basic “How-To-Guide” on getting a divorce and the ten steps you can take for a smooth separation:

  1. Make a Priority List: If you are thinking of getting a divorce, the first thing you should do is make a list of what is most important to you—your priority list.  Remember, what is important to you might be trivial to others. For example, couples with young children will likely prioritize their kids on their list.  But for couples with older children or adult children, their retirement funds might be at the top of their list. Keep this priority list for future reference.  During the divorce process, many issues will come up and you want to keep your focus on what is important to you, not something inconsequential.
  2. Research Potential Divorce Attorneys:  Once you know what is important to you, you should research potential divorce attorneys.  You should hire an attorney who specializes in divorce cases and you should interview at least three different attorneys. Do not choose the attorney who promises you that you will get everything you want – that is just unrealistic.
  3. Obtain the Funds to Hire the Attorney and Start the Process:  You will need to have the funds to hire the attorney of your choice.  Every attorney has a slightly different fee structure and will explain to you how much money you need to start the process.
  4. Obtain your Financial Documents:  In just about every contested divorce, you will need to obtain important financial documents. You will need at least these following documents: tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements and retirement statements.  Most attorneys will accept PDF (electronic) copies of these statements. Your attorney will provide you with a more comprehensive list.
  5. Make a Budget:  Eventually post-divorce, you will be responsible for your own finances and will need to have your own budget. It is important to start computing your expenses and your income from the very beginning of the divorce process to prevent any surprises when it’s completed.
  6. Open New Banking Accounts:  Ask your attorney first, but you should be able to open up new individual bank accounts during the divorce process. Once you are divorced, you will need new accounts, so the sooner you have one, the better.
  7. Get a Credit Report and Credit Card:  You can obtain a free credit report from several sources.  You may want to obtain a new credit card and use it for “new” expenses.
  8. Get New Wills, Health Care Proxy, and Power of Attorney:  Whether or not you already have a Will, Health Care Proxy, or Power of Attorney – now is a good time to get one.  You do not want your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to have these powers.
  9. Listen to Your Attorney – Not Your Friends or Family:  During your divorce, you will get lots of free advice from your friends and family.  Your friends/family mean well, but, unless they themselves are divorce attorneys in your State (each State has their own divorce laws), take their advice with a “large grain of salt”.  Listen to your attorney and follow his/her advice.  You hired an expert for a reason.
  10. But, It’s “OK” to Join a Support Group or Find a Mental Health Professional:  Many people who are going through a divorce find it helpful to either find a “divorce support group” or to go to a mental health professional (social worker, psychologist etc.). The support group is there to give you emotional support – not legal advice.  The same would go for any mental health professional.

If you are thinking of getting a divorce you need a professional who will help you throughout the entire process. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. provides real-world advice to help you through this challenging time

If you are contemplating getting a divorce, and need an attorney to represent you, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email at or visit our web site: The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and Uniondale, Nassau County.

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