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Preparation before a divorce can eliminate stress, experts say

Let’s face it, not everyone is blind-sided by divorce. Though we might try to ignore the signs, most of us can anticipate the agonizing talk about divorce even before our spouse brings it up. For those of our Washington readers who can see their own impending divorce just around the corner, we have one important piece of advice that can save a lot of stress down the road: come to your divorce talks organized and prepared.

Knowing your finances is probably one of the most important pieces of information you can have during a divorce. Knowing your income to debt ratio, who pays the bills and how much, and whose name is on each asset can make asset division that much easier and less stressful for everyone involved. This can also help you determine how much money you should set aside for other expenses such as legal fees or rent money in case one of you moves out prior to the divorce.

If you and your spouse have children, consider what custody arrangement would work best for your situation. Does your child have a lot of extracurricular activities that might take away from one parent’s visitation time? Is travel going to be a deciding factor if you request joint custody? These are important questions that if handled early enough can also eliminate a lot of stress when you start the divorce process.

While your lawyer can help you iron out all of the legal issues you run into, they are often not equipped to handle the emotional issues often associated with a divorce. With this being the case, it’s important for people to come into the process knowing that complications can arise and emotions may run high. Coming into the process with a level head can be a tall order for some couples, which is why some experts suggest speaking with a therapist before or even during the divorce process. That way, you can get out your feelings without bringing them to negotiations later.

Source: CNBC, “Getting divorced? Get organized first,” Valerie Adelman, Mar. 9, 2014

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