If you’re considering legally separating or divorcing your partner, there are some things you should know about the process to make the transition easier. This is a difficult time, and you need to be able to progress in an orderly manner to avoid any unnecessary conflict or greater emotional pain.

Aside from the pain of a marriage ending, you may have children to consider as well. Staying together solely for your children is never a good idea, so you ultimately do need to consider what your co-parenting and custody agreement will look like.

The divorce process varies state-by-state, but there are some core elements that can help make everyone’s separation easier.

There Is No “Winner”

Divorce isn’t a competition, and the judge’s final ruling won’t prove which partner “beat” the other. Many couples often try to use custody battles and divorce hearings as a way to take revenge on one another. Make sure this isn’t you. Remind yourself that this is a decision meant to improve your life. You should never drag anyone else into your divorce, and the sooner you realize that the separation is mutually beneficial, the better off you’ll be.

Property division, custody and alimony are all common topics that arise during a divorce hearing, but they should be negotiated professionally.

Separate Your Lives Even If You’re Living Together

It’s not always feasible for a couple to immediately begin living under separate roofs, but you can begin to separate your finances and other aspects of your lives. Each person needs to consider their future living arrangements and take control of their own personal living expenses. It can complicate a divorce emotionally if a couple tries to act like best friends or roommates or are still financially dependent on one another.

If you or your spouse have previously paid the majority of household expenses, speak to a lawyer to determine the best course of action. You will also have to work with your spouse to delegate financial responsibilities.

Finding an Attorney Is Top Priority

A divorce lawyer can be helpful even for amicable couples. Divorce hearings can be confusing, and there’s a lot of legal work involved. A lawyer can provide valuable advice and insight that makes the process go by as quickly and smoothly as possible.

If your spouse refuses to sign a divorce petition, then an attorney can arrange for the documents to be professionally delivered. This action helps establish the date of separation, so you’re able to proceed with the divorce process even if your spouse is non-compliant.

You Don’t Need a Reason to Get a Divorce

Previously, states required a justifiable cause for the petition to divorce. Now, all 50 states and the District of Columbia allow no-fault divorces, which means someone can file for divorce simply because they no longer wish to be married.

Making the Best Choice for Your Future

You should never stay in a marriage because you’re afraid of “failing.” Relationships are hard and take lots of work and, sometimes, the most loving thing you can do for another person is to admit you do not belong together.

If there are children involved, it’s even more imperative that you are civil and respectful throughout the divorce process. Getting the best divorce attorney services and relationship counseling can help ensure that your mental health and emotional well-being are taken care of during this time.