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You’ve just been served with Divorce papers, or you are considering Divorce: Now what?

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A new life experience awaits you. A world of unfamiliar words and phrases: Dissolution of Marriage, Community Property, Separate Property, Community and Separate Debts, Child Custody, Child Support, Spousal Support (AKA Alimony), and many more to add to your vocabulary. One household will now become two to support. Time with your children will now be shared.

4 Steps to Surviving Divorce Legally, Financially and Emotionally

STEP 1: Consult a lawyer, preferably a Certified Family Law Specialist. Access lawyers.com for family law referrals in your state and county. Set an appointment for an initial consultation. Discuss and find out what your rights and obligations will be, identify what the main issues in your case are. The more you know about your assets and debts, the more in depth the lawyer’s assessment of your case can be. You should be comfortable with the lawyer you choose, feel he/she is listening to you and your concerns and responding to you in a professional manner.

STEP 2: Consider meeting with a Financial Divorce Planner. These are professionals who do not sell you anything. They have training regarding divorce financial issues. Their advice will guide you how to “cut up the pie” in the most advantageous way. Some financial planners are also CPAs and can give you tax advice as well. Having a Divorce Financial planner and CPA work with your attorney can save time and money.

STEP 3: Consider counseling with a therapist that has experience with divorcing couples. You may initially seek joint counseling with your spouse. A counselor/therapist is an independent third party who can facilitate emotional support and assist you to make decisions that are based on reason and not on emotion. Also, if you have children, there are therapists who are child specialists. They can help you and the children with the transition to two homes.

STEP 4: Explore the alternatives to litigating your Divorce. They are designed to substantially reduce the costs and trauma of litigation. No one wins in a divorce trial, least of all, the children. MEDIATION: Spouses meet with a trained Mediator who assists them to assess and discuss their issues in order to come to their own agreement/settlement. The Mediator, cannot give “legal advice” to the parties, but does assist with all paper work. Parties can each have attorneys to advise them during mediation and to review the final agreement.

COLLABORATIVE LAW: This is a team approach to Divorce where professionals interact with each spouse and one another to enable the spouses to create their own settlement. Each spouse has an attorney who acts as his/her legal advisor, but does not represent them. Each of them has a “coach”, a mental health professional who assists with communication and negotiation skills. A Financial Divorce Planner assists both parties; A therapist (a Child Specialist) assists parents to create a child sharing plan.

For more information about Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego:


Barbara Silber Katz


Certified Family Law Specialist by State Bar of California Board of Legal Secialization

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