You are in the right frame of mind. If you are thinking of leaving, and aren’t sure of your next steps, it doesn’t hurt to do some research. I highly recommend that your first stop be to seek the advice of a divorce professional. This may seem self-promoting, but there’s a reason for it. In my practice, I provide initial consultations with no obligation to retain my services. This consultation may be used as a way to figure out what you need to be thinking about when you actually decide to leave the relationship. You can use this appointment to ask questions, and to tell the divorce professional your situation.
The direction that you will ultimately need to take will depend critically on your particular circumstances. This is why it can be quite dangerous and misleading to get your information from the Internet, books, friends, co-workers, other family members, or other sources which do not necessarily apply the law to your situation. A one-hour consultation with a divorce professional is designed to allow you to get customized advice based on your needs. It will also give you information on the process choices you may have available to you to proceed ultimately with your divorce (e.g. mediation, Collaborative Process, court, etc.).
You should come to the meeting prepared. Write down your questions that you want to ask. Have someone come with you to help take notes if you need (talk to the professional about their policy around this first). Take the time to complete the questionnaire as requested so that the professional can assess your situation as best as possible within your consultation time frame. The more you prepare, the more you will get out of the meeting.
Please be assured that this advice is not intended to encourage you to strategize and conspire before you leave your spouse. It is intended for you to equip yourself with the best information possible so that you can make informed choices that will be in your family’s best interest. Without a plan, you will be left to impulsive decisions at critical times which will be most likely based on emotion. We know where intense emotions can get us…
Did a consultation help you? Share your stories with me – send me an email or follow me on Twitter at @stephaniecollab and send me a tweet. I want to hear from you!