This post will be the first in a series that addresses the steps to take when it becomes apparent that a divorce may be imminent. Understand that I am not encouraging divorce. I am, however, encouraging you to protect your interests and make prudent preparations if a divorce is going to take place.

Step 1: Find a Wise Guide

An experienced divorce lawyer I know is fond of telling his clients that you don’t need a lawyer to get a divorce, but you need them for the consequences of your divorce. He is right. You can likely get a divorce by finding some forms on the internet or hiring a lawyer that advertises for cheap uncontested divorces. If you have no children, a marriage of only a year or two in duration, no assets or debts have been accumulated during the marriage, and you and your spouse agree on everything, then you probably don’t need a divorce specialist.

Look for a lawyer that has at least 5-10 years experience practicing primarily divorce and family law. Find out the lawyer’s philosophy regarding litigating cases versus settling them. My personal opinion is that you should want a lawyer who makes it a priority to attempt to acheive a fair settlement for you, but who is capable and willing to litigate the case before a judge.

Step 2: Make an accounting of the family finances

The next thing you will want to do is to gather as much information as you can in order to get a clear picture of your family’s financial situation. You may already have a firm handle on this, if you are the one that takes care of the finances in your home. On the other hand, you may have no idea what you and your spouse own or owe.

One of the primary functions of the divorce process is to make a division of the assets and debts of the marriage. In order to get a fair division, you must know what there is to divide.

This is a three step process:

A. Determine what you own.
B. Determine what you owe.
C. Determine income (both yours and your spouses).

I will cover each of these in more detail in subsequent, separate posts.

Jim Jeffries | Mobile & Baldwin County Attorney

Jim currently is a member of the Alabama Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Child Support Guidelines and Enforcement as well as a statewide committee that has been tasked with reviewing and making recommendations for possible revisions to Alabama's version of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Jim was also recently appointed by the President of the Alabama State Bar Association to a serve on a committee whose purpose is to review and comment on Alabama legislation regarding joint custody for a proposal to the Alabama Legislature for possible changes in this legislation.

Jim has attained a Peer Review Ranking of AV from Martindale-Hubbell® - The highest an attorney can be ranked by his peers.

He continues to lecture to attorneys across the state regarding family law issues.

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Jeffries Family Law, LLC

Divorce Attorney | Child Support & Child Custody Attorney | Prenuptial Law Attorney

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