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Spring is here.  This is traditionally a time for renewal and looking into the future towards brighter days.  People who feel trapped in their relationships use this time  to search for ways to change their lives.  If that is where you find yourself, you may be asking where to start if you want to end a marriage or long-term relationship.  A good way to start is to talk to your counselor or therapist, or a trusted friend, about taking this step.

Oftentimes it helps clarify in your mind why it is that you want a divorce (or to end the relationship if you aren’t married), and what is important to you in getting a divorce.  We often fantasize that life will be “all good” once we have left a relationship, but that is seldom the case.  Being clear in your mind that you want a divorce, and about the reasons why you want a divorce, can help you stay clear-headed and make good decisions.

Then, once you are clear that you want to end the relationship, you need to start gathering information.  That is when it can be helpful to talk to a divorce attorney about the divorce process.  I offer free consultations for the first half-hour of meeting with anyone interested in learning about divorce, and so do many other divorce attorneys.  This is a good way to find out the basic information about what to expect during the divorce process.  You can also contact the King County Bar Association and set up a 20 minute consultation with a divorce attorney at a neighborhood legal clinic .

Another option is to attend a divorce workshop.  I am a presenter at the 2nd Saturday Divorce Workshops held at Highline Community College in Des Moines, Washington, every second Saturday of the month.  At this workshop, you will spend three to four hours with a divorce attorney, a financial planner, and a mental health professional discussing all three aspects of the divorce process.  This is cost-effective and time-efficient way to get many of your questions answered.

If you are particularly concerned about the financial impact of a divorce, you might want to meet with a financial planner who specializes in helping people through a divorce.  If you are worried about the impact of a divorce on your children, you might want to set up an appointment to meet with a therapist who specializes in helping children through divorces.  If you are worried about how your partner will react, you may want to find a counselor of your own to help you plan out how you are going to address ending the relationship with your spouse.

The main thing to remember is that there is no need to jump into anything just because you feel ready to “spring forward”.  This is a time for planting seeds:  learning about your options; carefully planning how you will proceed; and laying the groundwork for moving forward in a positive direction.  When you work carefully on this  phase of planning your divorce, it can save a lot of grief in actually executing your plan later on.

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