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Navigating the emotional aspects of filing for divorce can be nerve-wracking. But the emotional struggle isn’t the only one that comes with divorce. You also have the daunting and often complicated process of legally dissolving the marriage. At McMurdie Law & Mediation we strive toward the best possible outcomes for our clients who are filing for divorce. Consider these “first steps” as you take action to file for divorce.

It’s Time to Say Goodbye: How to Take the First Steps toward Divorce

Long marriage? Short marriage? It is difficult to say goodbye and change your life. The fear of ending a committed relationship often causes couples to stay together far beyond when it has run its course. After years of being together, separating your lives is a challenge an multiple levels. You and your partner may have shared social circles, shared friends, and shared memories that make uncoupling very challenging even if divorce is the right choice.

Before you and your partner separate, it’s important to understand exactly what your first steps in the divorce process are right for you. Here’s what you need to know.

Consider seeking counseling for yourself. While the idea of meeting with a therapist can be difficult or overwhelming, understand that therapy offers a number of benefits. For many adults, speaking with a neutral third party can be relaxing. It may be calming to speak with someone who won’t judge you for your decisions or your opinions. Divorce is a stressful time and you may be feeling a lot of negativity. It’s also important to remember that your mental health is important. Speaking with a therapist can help you work through your emotions and feelings surrounding the separation. This step helps you know if you have truly “turned over that last leaf” of your relationship.

See an attorney as soon as possible. In Arizona, filing for divorce begins with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage filed in the Superior Court of the county where you live. This Petition must be from one spouse, the “Petitioner.” The other spouse is the “Respondent.” The Respondent must be served with the Petition, and other documents, by a process server or sign an Acceptance of Service that must be filed with the court. The day you file your Acceptance of Service or are served will begin the countdown to the earliest date to file the final divorce papers your Decree, after the required 60-day deadline known as the “cooling off” period. If you and your partner are in agreement about the terms of divorce, the process will be less costly and more straightforward.

If you and your partner cannot agree on how your divorce will work, you may want to consider meeting with a mediation specialist who can assist you in deciding how you’ll divide your assets, how you’ll share custody, and what a good parenting plan will look like for your family. Dealing with conflicting emotions and anxiety during divorce can be emotionally exhausting for everyone involved. Bringing in a mediator who understands what you’re going through can be incredibly effective when it comes to helping both you and your partner deal with the legal process of divorce. They often have coaching experience and training that helps move the process holistically forward.

Anytime a relationship changes or ends, there will be friction and stress; however, it’s possible to navigate a divorce in a healthy way. Make sure you take the time to focus on the things you can control, such as your own mental health and the legal requirements for divorce. When you focus on yourself and managing your own response to things and commit to how you will move forward as an individual, the divorce process will be far less overwhelming, frustrating, or scary.

Contact McMurdie Law & Mediation today to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific situation.