It is important that once the process has started, and it starts as soon as one spouse expresses an intent to end the marriage, that you behave reasonably and appropriately at all times. You should behave as if you believe a judge is watching you at all times. All bad behavior has a way of making it's way into the courtroom or court file eventually. You must be calm, reasonable and fair, and not undertake any actions that would physically, emotionally or financially injure your spouse in any way. NO MATTER how bad they are, or how warranted you think your retaliatory actions may be. DON'T DO IT.
Complile all financial documents and information.
Regardless of the size of the marital estate, the assets and debts must all be disclosed in the process. For some people this is a very difficult task. Many spouses have delegated these record keeping duties to the other spouse. Once it becomes clear the marriage is ending, it is time to acquaint yourself with your financial picture, and compile all the documents that make up that picture. Do not destroy or sequester these documents once you compile them, but do make and keep duplicates. It is inappropriate to keep these things from your spouse, but you can secure your own copies in order that your spouse doesn't keep them from you.
Be strong for your children.
It is inappropriate to discuss the "case" with children. Of course you have to tell them what is occurring, especially if one parent is moving out of the family home. It is important to make them feel safe, make them feel as though the parents can and will continue to provide for and take care of them, and most importantly that this separation of the parents is NOT their fault. It is important to seek the assistance of a mental health professional, particularly if your children have witnessed any violence in the home, in ways to communicate these things to your children if you are having difficulty communicating these things in this manner to your children. Children will reflect what they believe their parents expect them to. If you deal with this situation in a calm, business-like manner, your children will be comforted, and feel safe and calm. Save the adversarial communications for the confidential memos and phone conferences with your lawyer.
Don't do anything stupid.
All of these aspirations lead to this. At this time in your life, more than any other, you will be under intense scrutiny, pressure and emotions you may never have experienced before. Seek help and support from friends, family and trusted confidantes. It is important to have an outlet for the strong feelings you encounter at this time. Confronting your spouse is usually the worst idea, and communication with the soon to be ex-spouse should be LIMITED to only that specific information that is relevant to the children's schedule. It is best if you can start a regular relationship with a therapist, but if not, be sure you are selective in who you confide your feelings to.
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