St. Louis, MO- So you are getting a divorce; it’s not what you wanted but it’s what must happen. Your mind is probably reeling with so many emotions that you have no idea where to begin. Going through a divorce is not easy by any means and the strong emotions surrounding this decision makes it even more difficult for you to think straight. You must be in charge of your emotions while you try to make some seemingly impossible decisions. Following these steps and getting the sage advice of a lawyer can help.

Hire a Divorce Attorney

Do I really need a divorce attorney? That’s a question many people have, and truly the answer depends on your circumstances and what assets you have to divide. There are some couples who don’t need an attorney. These couples they don’t really have any assets to divide, they don’t own a home and they have no children. But that’s not the landscape of most marriages and finances can become confusing. Untangling debts, finances, investments, retirement accounts along with deciding what to do with the house. Child custody, pet custody and support can further complicate the process. A divorce attorney is there to make certain your rights are protected and to safeguard your financial interests.

Separate from Your Spouse

If you live in a no-fault divorce state you won’t have to wait a month to several before you can file a formal divorce petition. Your divorce petition will ask you when you separated, but it won’t delay your divorce; that date is only relevant in states with fault divorce. But you still must decide whether you and your spouse will remain in the same house together while you wait for your divorce to be finalized.

Although you and your spouse don’t have to live apart to seek a divorce, you do have to separate your lives. That means you don’t share a bedroom, continue to engage in sexual intercourse and no longer allow your finances to mingle.

Discuss Child Custody Arrangements

If you have children, you and your spouse should discuss child custody arrangements. You need to determine: Who will get primary custody? Who will pay child support? What about visitation? Which holidays will a child spend with each parent?

Child custody is one of the primary sources of contention in a divorce so a resolution to a custody dispute can be nearly impossible reach without the advice of a divorce attorney such as DinsmoreStark. This issue can take months to resolve so discussing child custody ahead of time will make you and your spouse aware of what the other one expects and wants can make negotiations easier in the long run.

Get Your Financial Paperwork in Order

Finances, like child custody, can add to the contention of a divorce, but before this matter can be settled your divorce attorney must understand your finances which includes your earnings, assets, debt, deeds and insurance paperwork. You need to provide your divorce attorney will all this information to help them determine what you are entitled to and how much, if any, spousal or child support you need.