Eric S. Neumann, APLC
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Preparing for divorce

The first working Monday in January is referred to divorce day by family law attorneys in this country because of the high volume of phone calls of married couples considering divorce after the holidays. Spouses who are currently considering the end of their marriage should prepare before speaking with an attorney or going forward with this process.

Getting financial information is an important first step. Although year-end information is usually unavailable until the end of January, paystubs have helpful information. Bank statements, credit card bills and earlier tax returns have financial data that can help prepare for divorce. A credit report can also reveal what debts the couple have.

Social media should be used carefully or not at all. A soon-to-be ex-spouse can gather incriminating information from postings about the children or spending which can play a role in custody or support proceedings. Other individuals can also share posts that were intended to remain confidential. Any postings should be kind and innocent.

A spouse should also engage in self-care by seeing a therapist, starting an exercise routine or making time for reflection. Friends and family can also provide support.

Preparing goals for the divorce and afterwards can help provide guidance on what should be sought during proceedings or negotiations. This may also include planning on a new and more fulfilling life for the spouse and the children.

Finally, a spouse should also consider whether the divorce may be relatively amicable or contentious. If the spouses can cooperate, they may take part in mediation or a collaborative divorce that provide more opportunities for them to reach their own agreements on issues such as child custody and visitation and support. If a spouse is not forthcoming with information or uncooperative, a spouse should begin to plan for court proceedings and gathering additional information.

Experienced attorneys can help spouses in Louisiana make many of these preparations and provide options. The can also help assure that a divorce decree is fair and reasonable.

Source: Huffington Post, "Top 5 tips: How to prepare for your divorce in the new year," By Morghan Leia Richardson, Dec. 26, 2017

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