I want to get divorced but don’t know how to start

Posted by on December 12, 2020 in Divorce, Family Law


By Attorney Cathy Shanelaris

I often hear from my clients that they had thought about getting divorced for a very long time, but did not do anything because they did not know how to get started. It seems overwhelming to think about what to do and how to get started when someone is not sure where and when to start the divorce process. The easiest and best step to take is to have a consultation with an attorney. Information is power and scheduling an appointment with an attorney to discuss the process, your rights and your obligations in a divorce is the best way to get moving forward.

During the consultation, we discuss the following topics with potential new clients:

(1) We discuss what the right divorce process may be for you. There are several ways to get divorce which including the traditional way of filing with the court, the use of mediation, agreeing to use the collaborative divorce process (https://collaborativelawnh.org) and other methods of settlement negotiations.

(2) The division of the parties’ assets and debts. This includes dividing of financial accounts and retirement accounts, can you stay in your house or sell your house, health insurance continuation, life insurance continuation, filing federal and state taxes post-divorce and discussions of the law surrounding college expenses for children.

(3) Parenting plans and parenting schedules for minor children which includes a post-divorce parenting schedule, vacation and holiday schedule for each parent with the children and other issues that may be relevant like moving to another town or state after the divorce.

(4) Child support and alimony. We discuss the formula for obtaining child support and the amount a parent may receive in child support or the amount a parent may pay in child support. New Hampshire also has a new alimony law. Alimony is spousal support paid by one spouse to another and we discuss whether someone is entitled to alimony and for what period of time it may be payable or whether someone will need to pay alimony to his or her spouse.

The consultation may last an hour to 1.5 hours and it is a great way for a person to get information about what to expect if he or she moves forward in the divorce process. The consultation is an invaluable way to learn about how to get divorced, what you may be entitled to during the divorce, how assets and debts are divided, how your children may be affected and whether you pay or receive child support and/or alimony. It is well worth taking the time to learn about what to expect before you begin the divorce process. Many times our clients have said they feel so much better about starting the process after they have spent time discussing what to do and how to do it. If you have questions about how to get started with your divorce, please give Shanelaris & Schirch a call or visit our website at www.sandslawfirm.com to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.