Technically, divorce is the process of dissolving the marital estate and returning each spouse to their separate legal state. Emotionally, divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences you will ever go through.

If you’re unfortunately contemplating a divorce, the attorneys of Brydon, Swearengen & England P.C. offer steps to consider before you file. Preparing ahead of time eases some of the problems that come up during the process.

  1. Educate Yourself About Your State’s Divorce Laws

To file for divorce in Missouri, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the State of Missouri for more than ninety (90) days immediately proceeding the filing of the divorce petition.

Missouri is a “no-fault” divorce state. A spouse can claim the marriage is “irretrievably broken” which means they can file for divorce without a reason.

Some states require a couple to be separated for a particular amount of time before filing a no-fault divorce. There aren’t any official separation requirements in Missouri, but after filing, a couple must be living separately for 30 days.

  1. Choose a Lawyer Experienced With Divorce Proceedings

The art of negotiation is important in any divorce. At this point, you should view negotiations as a business transaction. Choose a lawyer who’s experienced in everything from property division to child custody. You don’t have to understand all of the legal proceedings, but make sure you find a trusted lawyer who does.

  1. Get Your Finances In Order

Divorce is often expensive, particularly if there is a large amount of property to divide. Make sure you have a clear list of your personal assets and debts. Get copies of all of your financial records, both individually and jointly.

If you aren’t the main “breadwinner” in the marriage, calculate what your living expenses will be once divorced. Can you make ends meet? If not, consider this as part of your negotiations.

  1. Take Personal Responsibility

When celebrities divorce, every detail is socially reported. It’s your obligation to use social media responsibly. Control your emotions in person and online. Don’t badmouth your spouse. The judge will be taking into account your actions and attitude toward your spouse particularly when it comes to child custody.

  1. Make Sure You Have Emotional Support

Divorce is emotional no matter how amicable you and your spouse are. Make sure you focus on your emotional health. There’s strength in support groups and therapy. Make sure you take advantage of them. Reach out to trusted friends or family members who will advocate for you.

  1. Prepare Your Children Ahead Of Time

It doesn’t matter whether your children are minors or adults, they deserve to know your intentions ahead of time. Listen to their concerns and try to understand their fears. Their emotional health is just as important as yours.

Never involve your children in negotiations or use them as a bargaining chip. Protect them. Even adult children feel the loss. No matter what age, remind them the divorce was never their fault.

  1. Plan Your Future

Even though the process may drag on for a while, remind yourself it will eventually be over and you can begin again. Develop a post-divorce plan. How do you want to start over? With a goal in mind, you’ll have the confidence to stay involved in the process and finish strong.

The attorneys at Brydon, Swearengen & England P.C. represent clients throughout Mid-Missouri in divorce and family law matters. We have the experience you need to vigorously represent you in contested divorce trials involving complex property issues or fighting for child custody.

Contact us to discuss issues related to divorce, child custody, child support, or other family law matters. We’re a trusted firm with a reputation for honest, yet firm negotiations.