Planning For Divorce

For anyone who goes through it, divorce is a major upheaval. You may be facing complex child custody, property division and spousal support concerns, and each of these issues could affect your life for years to come.

To help minimize your stress and uncertainty, it is a good idea to take some steps now to get organized and start planning for the divorce process. Following are some steps you can take to plan for the weeks and months ahead.

To schedule a confidential consultation with a skilled and dedicated family law attorney, contact us today. With offices in Metairie and St. Tammany Parish, we advise and represent clients on the Southshore and the Northshore.

1. Determine where you will live, and put together a budget.

Consider where you and — if you have them — your children will live. Also, consider where your spouse or partner will live. Once you have an idea about these matters, ask yourself whether you can afford your living arrangements. In any case, it is a good idea to put together a budget that takes into account your weekly, monthly and yearly expenses. You can minimize uncertainty about the future by addressing these matters now.

2. Seek guidance from an experienced divorce lawyer.

This is a crucial step early in the process. A professional with experience in these matters can assess your specific situation and help you make decisions that are in your best interest and the best interests of your children.

3. Make a plan for the kids.

One of the first and most difficult steps is to tell the children about the divorce. When you do, let them know that it's not their fault and that you and the other parent will never stop loving them. Let them know that you will be there for them as the family adjusts to life after the divorce.

Also, try to figure out whether you or the other parent will have the kids most of the time while divorce matters are being finalized. Consider who will cover what in terms of child-related expenses. If you are uncertain of how to address these matters, our child custody attorneys can help you.

4. Start a file where you can keep divorce-related documents.

Divorce typically involves a lot of paperwork. You can stay organized by keeping all of your documents in a place where you can easily find them. This file should include multiple copies of your financial paperwork, including any documents related to insurance, your house and mortgage, businesses, retirement plans, credit cards and vehicles. Because financial documentation is used to determine child support and reach a fair divorce settlement, you should also provide your attorney with copies of these documents.

5. Consider getting a post office box.

If you are moving out of the family home, opening a post office box may be a good idea. You don't want any important documents getting lost or thrown out by your spouse. A post office box can be a secure place to receive your financial and legal documents.

6. Consider collaborative divorce or mediation.

These methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can help you avoid courtroom litigation, and they can be effective in minimizing conflicts and costs during the divorce process. Collaborative divorce and family mediation can also help to minimize the impact of divorce on children.

Attorney Michelle Demarest-Sunseri is a certified collaborative professional and a trained mediator. For more on these matters, please see our collaborative divorce overview.

7. Seek emotional support.

While your friends and family may not be the best sources for legal advice, they may still provide important emotional support when you need it most, especially if they have also been through divorce. Therapists, religious organizations and support groups can also be extremely helpful. In any case, don't forget to take care of yourself.

Contact Nicaud & Sunseri Law Firm, LLC

To speak with an experienced family law attorney, call our office in Metairie at 504-662-9596 or our office in St. Tammany Parish at 985-218-0494. You can also send us an email to schedule a consultation. We are here to help.