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Building a strong divorce team

If you've made the decision to divorce (or your spouse has), it's essential to have a strong team of professionals supporting you. This starts with finding the right attorney. Don't just Google family law attorneys in your area. Talk to people you know who have fairly recently divorced to get some recommendations.

Consult with more than one attorney before hiring one. Good attorneys will typically charge a fee for a consultation. However, it's worth it to find one with whom you feel comfortable. You need an attorney with whom you can be honest. Honesty is essential in the attorney-client relationship. There are always things that people don't like to admit about their marriage, their spouse or themselves. However, you can't hide things from your attorney if you want them to effectively represent you.

You also want to find an attorney who shares your goals for the divorce and your future. If you're hoping to have an amicable divorce, you don't want or need someone known for "sticking it" to the other side. You do want an attorney who will work to seek fair property division, support and custody agreements for you.

You may need to add some other professionals to your team. Your financial and tax advisers can tell you the potential implications of the terms you're seeking. It's best not to keep the advisers who have been working with you and your spouse. You want people who don't have any conflicts of interest as they advise you.

A good therapist can also help you through the process. If you're not dealing with all of the feelings you're having about the divorce, those feelings may start governing your decisions -- which is never a good idea.

If you've got a good team advising you, you'll spend less time reading articles online that may or may not apply to your divorce. It's easy to get overloaded by the sheer volume of information and opinions online. If you have good advisers around you who know the specifics of your case, you can trust their advice.

A strong team of professionals can help you make good decisions during a time when emotions can easily impact your decision-making skills. Once you have your attorney, they can provide recommendations for other professionals that can help strengthen your team.

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