What do I do first?Whether you decided to initiate a divorce or whether your partner did, there are some practical steps you can take to empower yourself and your family in addition to finding a qualified expert to guide you through the maze offamily law in Birmingham. 
 
1.   Gather your documents.  I won’t say get organized because that sounds even more overwhelming. But start a file, a box, a flash drive, whatever you use for important information and collect financial information (pay stubs, bank statements, brokerage statements, 401k/IRA, last year’s tax return, social security estimate statements); your children’s information (social security numbers, medical records, school records, babysitter/carpool contact information, health insurance information); property records (car titles, mortgages, tax assessments, appraisals). 
2.   Gather your wits.  Whether it is a professional counselor, a trusted friend or relative, your hairdresser, or a doctor, you need someone you can lean on, share with and ask for favors. Life is going to be a bit disrupted for a while; be prepared. Don’t use Facebook as therapy. Any communication relevant to divorce issues (which is quite broad) can be discovered. But remember that only communications with licensed mental health professionals are privileged.
 
 
3.   Gather your forces. Consult an experienceddivorce attorney in Birmingham, or several. Find someone you can talk to and feel comfortable with, someone whose philosophy matches yours when you are researching your options for aBirmingham divorce lawyer. Consult with a financial advisor or your CPA. This is not the time to buy anything, so stay away from sales pitches, but find someone who can explain to you what you have and what you need in a way that you can understand.        
 
What about the  children?This is going to be a very emotional and vulnerable time for the whole family.
1.  Try to keep as much stability and consistency in place as possible in the children's schedules and the operation of the family. Your kids need you right now even though you are struggling to keep yourself together.
 
2.  Work with your spouse to help your children maintain quality relationships with both parents during and after your divorce. What do you want your post-divorce parenting life to look like? Start that now.
 
3.  How open you are with your children depends on their ages and maturity. Be honest. Accept responsibility. Their world is changing in a way that they did not know was possible and you are telling them it has nothing to do with them and they can’t stop it.
 
4.  Look for resources at school, at church, online, in the bookstore.Check out the Links page on this website.Talk with teachers, pediatricians and caregivers so that they know what your children are going through. Simply share the facts of the changing status at home. No need to go into gory detail.
Copyright 2010 Lyman Dowling Law LLC:  Family Law Birmingham.  All Rights Reserved. 

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