You are not alone. Divorce filings surge in January as people decide to start their New Year with a clean slate, helped by a stressful holiday period and, perhaps, even more stressful in-laws.

As Market Place reports, being cooped up in a house for several days when a marriage is experiencing serious problems – while dealing with the pressure to put on a happy face for the kids and visiting relatives – takes its toll on the most stoic of couples.

I’ve written about the recent rise in divorce filings, and many times the holiday season can highlight problems. What should you do? Whatever the reason for your problems, there are a few things that anyone looking into divorce for the first time needs to know to help them through the process.

Prioritize

Line up your priorities for life after the divorce. Is it finding a home? Is it retiring? Getting a job? Managing your special-needs child? Consider writing down your most important goals.

Consult

Even if you aren’t certain you need to hire an attorney, or filing for divorce at all, it is a good idea to meet with an expert in Florida’s divorce and family laws. Who better than someone certified by Florida as an expert in marital and family law? We offer free consultations, but even when there is a charge, it is well worth the fee to get accurate information.

Alternatives

Litigation is something to avoid. It’s time-consuming, contentious and expensive. The majority of divorces end up settling. There are many forms of alternative dispute resolution out there, including collaborative divorce, mediation, and informal settlement conferences.

As Market Watch further reports, there is good reason for treating a divorce like a calm business deal. Don’t rush to file. Think about your end game. Many people file quickly out of anger perhaps after learning of a spouse’s misconduct. But it’s better to be strategic.

No one should make such a big financial decision when they are feeling tired and emotional. And divorces are one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

Divorces are up there with getting married and buying a home. There’s one big difference with divorces though: They can be devastating for your finances, especially if your partner earned more money and the couple are forced to sell their home.

The Market Watch article is here.

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