Steps to take after deciding on divorce

You have tried counseling, read books about relationships and struggled to overcome issues in your marriage, but you have decided that divorce is the best option for you. Even when you are sure your marriage is over, taking the next steps can be a challenge.

These are the considerations to keep in mind after you decide to ask for a divorce.

Create a budget

The court will require both partners to submit a full accounting of income, assets and debts. Getting your expenses in order will help the discovery process proceed smoother. Having a good handle on your finances is also essential so that you can make a budget for a separate household. Keep in mind that you will have increased expenses such as separate utilities, health insurance premiums and other costs of maintaining your livelihood.

Maintain separate living spaces

South Carolina will grant a no-fault divorce after the couple has lived separately for at least 365 days. Whether you decide to stay in the family home, move in with a friend or family member or rent another property elsewhere, the clock does not start ticking until spouses begin residing in two different locations. Document the new address and the date on which you or your spouse moved out of the shared home. In cases of domestic violence, physical abuse or substance abuse, you can ask for a fault-based divorce, which takes about 90 days.

Keep the peace

The more contentious a divorce, the longer and more expensive the legal process will be. Focus on compromising with your former spouse on issues like property division and child custody. You may want to seek mediation, in which a neutral third-party helps you and your spouse reach an agreement on challenging aspects of the separation.

With these three steps, you will be better prepared to face the divorce process. Reach out to your support system when you need help coping with the struggles of this challenging transition.