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A divorce is a life-changing occurrence, and it will have long term financial and emotional consequences.
I always inform my clients that the best-prepared spouse will have the best outcome, and I firmly believe this.
We find that we often act against attorneys that did not adequately prepare their client's case, and it is more often than not because they were not fully aware of the background information of the matter.
Be sure that you are emotionally ready to proceed with the Divorce. If you do not know if you are ready to proceed with the Divorce from an emotional point of view, consider seeing a psychologist to help you with your decision.
I have many clients that tell me that they stayed together for the sake of the children or because they wanted the financial security. Many other clients say that they do not know how to know that they should proceed with a divorce.
While it is not an easy decision to make, if you have been unhappy for an extended time and things do not look like they are going to improve, then you are likely ready to proceed with a divorce.
Your happiness is of paramount importance.
You should see an attorney before you make a final decision to divorce. Let the divorce attorney explain your rights and responsibilities to you. Many people listen to friends and colleagues and then have expectations that is far removed from reality. Book a once off appointment with a divorce attorney so that you understand exactly what to expect when you proceed with your Divorce.
You need to be honest with your attorney and supply all the information required by them. This will assist them to prepare your case properly.
Make sure that you know in terms of what marital regime you are married. For example, are you married in community of property, or are you married in terms of an antenuptial agreement?
Get copies of your marriage certificate, your antenuptial contract, wills, and prepare a spreadsheet of all assets and liabilities and income and expenses for both you and your spouse.
If possible, obtain copies of the bank statements, deeds, insurance policies, pension fund details etcetera.
Prepare an inventory of property and list the estimated value of each item.
As I said, the best-prepared spouse will have the best possible outcome.
You must understand what you are entitled to and what the likely outcome of a divorce will be. Think about the best possible outcome and how you can achieve this. If you have minor children, consider what is in their best interests, who they will live with and what contact the other parent should have.
Your expectations must be reasonable and consistent with the law.
The divorce process can be costly, and you need to plan for this. Think about how you can afford the legal fees and other sundry fees. When you consult with your divorce attorney, make sure that you also discuss the financial aspects of the matter.
Every Divorce is different, with its own nuances and circumstances. Do not compare your case directly with your friend's Divorce. Ensure that you fully understand your rights and obligations before you start the divorce process.