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Assuming you have exhausted all the options available for reconciliation and that you have calmly and objectively considered how a divorce will affect your life, your spouse and children, you should prepare for the legal side of a divorce. Emotions aside, you need to know how to approach the division of your assets, custody of your children, income and even debt. So before your ask your spouse for a divorce, consult with a family law lawyer so that you know what to do prior to breaking the news.
Like with any legal case, you will need to provide documentation, so starting a list and discretely saving documents will be very helpful when meeting a family lawyer. Some key documents include but are not limited to bank statements, check stubs (yours and your spouses), tax returns, mortgage statements, auto loans, life insurance policies, retirement plans and any debt under your or your spouse’s name. A family law lawyer will review these documents and will let you know if there is anything else to gather. It’s important to act discretely when gathering your documentation to prevent any unexpected retaliation from your spouse.
On average, a family law lawyer will charge a minimum of $1000 for an uncontested divorce, which is when both parties agree to the divorce and the terms of the divorce. For a contested divorce, which is when both parties don’t agree to the divorce or the terms, then a lawyer can charge anywhere from $2500 to several thousand dollars depending on the severity of the disagreement, child custody and more. Because these numbers are just averages and the details of your case are unique to you and your spouse, it’s best to consult with an family law lawyer for a proper quote.
A divorce is a serious life decision. How you come out of it depends on how well you prepare. Although you can't prepare for the emotional repercussions of your decision, you can prepare for the legal side. So before you face your spouse with your decision to separate, you should consult with a family law lawyer.