How do I get help with a divorce?

Asking a question on Quora is a start and better than doing nothing (as so many people contemplating divorce do when they are too afraid to do anything), but only a start. Still, good for you for taking that crucial (though scary) first step. So what should you do next? 

    • Make sure that divorce is what you need. 
      • Far too many people mistakenly believe divorce is the answer, only to discover after the divorce that their marriages or their spouses were never really the problem in the first place. 
      • Schedule a few sessions with a counselor or therapist for yourself, to make sure that you are in the right frame of mind. 
        • If you believe it would help, and if your spouse is receptive, go to couples counseling too. Dig deep to determine whether your marriage truly is irretrievably broken. 
    • As with all professionals, therapists and counselors are not all created equal. If you get the impression that the therapist or counselor you are currently meeting with is a hack, find someone else. Be honest enough with yourself to know when you’re dealing with someone who’s advice and guidance is what you need, even if it may be what you don’t want to hear. 
    • Recognize that you are a child of God and that he wants to help you, Your spouse, and your children (if you have children) through this difficult time. Seek Him out, and ask for His help. 

If you determine that divorce is necessary: 

  • Keep getting the counseling or therapy you need, if you still need it. 
  • Keep seeking God’s guidance and help. No matter how bad your spouse may be, don’t make a bad situation worse by acting out of fear, despair, anger, vengeance, and greed. Don’t let divorce strip you of your decency. 
  • Read books and articles, watch videos, and listen to podcasts, but do so with a plan and purpose in mind. 
    • Read, watch, and listen to a lot. This will not be a matter of several hours, or even several days worth of work and studying, but weeks and months (perhaps even years). Do any less than that, and you will not be as prepared for divorce as you need to be. Period. The unprepared struggle the most, worry the most, and fail the most in divorce. And if you are wondering, no, there are no shortcuts. 
    • Reading two or three articles on child custody will not give you the grounding you need in the subject. Watching some angry, bitter guy on YouTube complain about child support and alimony may be somewhat informative, but will certainly not give you a completely accurate explanation of the subject. Listening to some boring podcast by some self-proclaimed but mediocre “expert” is not enough. I will note, however, that it is very good to get a sampling of A wide range of information and advice, because it will help you distinguish between what is of high quality and worth and what is not. 
    • Find the good material. Don’t waste time on the fluff and the outright garbage. There is so much free stuff available to you that it is easy to consume a lot of useless, or worse, that information and advice. Not everything you read, watch, and listen to will be of equal quality. Not everything you read or watch will be of good quality. With this in mind, remember that someone who has written a book or a published article has probably taken a far more care and attention to provide you with something of real substance and value than he or she who records a quick video clip in the car on a smart phone or who just rambles for 90 minutes in a podcast. In my experience, published written material is best, followed by well produced videos that are truly informational and that are not trying to sell you a product or service, followed by podcasts. 
    • Pay attention to what you are consuming. Eventually, you will reach a point where you will start noticing that the information you are getting is repeating itself. You will start to see some patterns emerge, and you will start to understand the subject of divorce better. At that same time, if you are being thoughtful, you will start to develop the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s when you know that your self-study has succeeded. Don’t stop studying at that point, but know that you have at that point gained a solid and useful understanding of divorce. 
  • Be smart enough to realize that it’s worth the money to meet with and discuss divorce with a knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced divorce attorney. An hour or two will be enough. 
    • The best time to meet with and confer with an attorney would be after you’ve spent an hour or two each day for about a week doing your best to learn about divorce on your own. This will help you to know what the good questions are you should ask of the attorney to determine just how skilled and knowledgeable the attorney is and how useful his or her observations, opinions, and advice are. It will help you to know what subjects to focus on with the questions you ask. 
  • Once you’ve learned what you can and should be doing to prepare for divorce, then you need to do that, and doing that as soon as possible, so that you are as well prepared as you can be before you file for divorce or before your spouse files for divorce. 
    • The better prepared you are, the more confidently you can take the right action. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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