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Divorce can be one of the most stressful and painful times in a person’s life. When deciding if divorce is the right choice for you and your family, you’ll want to be sure that you are fully aware of all facets of your situation. The following checklist will be helpful in softening the blow of this hard time.

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1. Take a look at your finances.

Before embarking on the emotional journey of divorce, you’ll want to be sure that you’re prepared for the financial one. If you have not been in charge of your family’s finances, you can find yourself in very unfamiliar territory here. Trying to educate yourself on the past however-long of your finances could be more time consuming than helpful. It’s okay—there are professionals who can help. Finding a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst will be extremely beneficial in this step, as they are equipped with financial knowledge that you may not be. Your CDFA can also help you to locate the important documents you will need for the divorce. If you have not yet told your spouse that you are interested in separating, you may want to set up a separate mailing address for all communication with your CDFA or other professionals involved in the process.

2. Get to know your state’s divorce laws.

Whether this process is your first experience with the legal system or not, it will likely be an intimidating one. It’s important to familiarize yourself with what your state requires for divorce, as each varies; being knowledgable will also help make you feel more comfortable and secure throughout the coming months. Most states have what’s called a “residency requirement,” a policy that says each spouse must be a permanent resident of that state for an allotted amount of time before divorcing. Some states also require spouses be separated for a certain amount of time before being allowed to file, while others don’t. Before you move further into this process, be sure to educate yourself on what your state requires.

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