It is common for people undergoing the divorce process to report that the experience is one of the most challenging they have ever faced. Divorce is often stressful, costly, and emotionally draining for everyone involved, even when a divorcing couple is in agreement about ending their marriage. If you are preparing for divorce in Oklahoma City, OK, keep the following tips in mind for a more streamlined and less stressful experience.

Be Practical

It can be difficult to separate your personal feelings about your soon-to-be-ex-spouse from your practical needs during the divorce process. However, losing your cool will not do you any favors. In fact, it may hurt your position as your divorce case unfolds. Do not let your soon-to-be ex-spouse provoke you into intense arguments during the divorce process. Consult with your attorney if you believe that one-on-one communication with your spouse has become too taxing as you begin the dissolution process.

Stay Engaged With Your Children

Divorce is difficult for parents, but it is even harder on their children. Young children have an especially tough time coping with divorce. When they do not understand what is happening, divorce can easily make them feel like their entire world is ending. While it may be very difficult to help a younger child understand divorce, let them vent their frustrations and do your best to answer any questions they may have.

One of the best things you can do for your children during this challenging time is to keep life as normal and consistent as possible. When you receive more information about the steps you will need to take next, keep children informed about any changes they are likely to experience and help them understand the need for these changes.

Be Diligent in Financial Disclosure

One of the most crucial aspects of any divorce case is financial disclosure. Disclosure must occur because the legal process of divorce requires transferring ownership rights of your shared marital property to you and your spouse individually. Oklahoma follows an equitable distribution law, meaning that the state endeavors to assign each party what is fair. As a result, your property division proceedings may not end with a 50/50 split. Instead, an Oklahoma City, OK family court judge will evaluate many distinct factors to arrive at their interpretation of the fairest possible outcome for the divorcing couple.

If you make any mistakes in your financial disclosure—or worse, intentionally leave vital details out of it—you could face severe consequences once these errors and/or omissions are discovered. Work closely with your Oklahoma City, OK divorce attorney to ensure your financial disclosure is complete and accurate.

Never Move Out of the Family Home

It is common for divorcing spouses to arrive at the conclusion that they should no longer live together. Often, one of them decides to move out of the house to smooth things over until the divorce is final. This is often a major mistake for the displaced spouse, as the other spouse will then have grounds to claim abandonment. If the couple has children, moving out could reflect poorly on the parent who left and could even lead to diminished custody rights. While residing with a soon-to-be-ex may be stressful, do not move out of the family home unless the court compels you to do so at the finalization of your divorce.

Determine Whether Divorce Is the Right Option

If your marriage has deteriorated, divorce may not be the only available solution to the situation. It is typically best to explore all viable options for reconciliation before moving to divorce proceedings. If you and your spouse believe you are beyond hope of reconciling your differences, it is still worth exploring other options before committing to the divorce process. For example, legal separation can provide many of the advantages of divorce without the finality. Separation is a common solution among older couples who no longer wish to be married for personal reasons but prefer not to divorce due to financial and/or practical issues.

Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution

The divorce process informally begins once you and your spouse decide to end your marriage. However, the legal process does not officially start until one of you files a divorce petition with the Oklahoma City, OK family court. It does not matter who files the petition in most cases since being the first to file offers no legal advantage. However, this phase of the process is the ideal time to discuss whether you and your spouse can take advantage of alternative dispute resolution like mediation.

Many couples divorcing in the US choose mediation because they can save significant amounts of time and money on the divorce process. In addition, mediation usually means keeping proceedings confidential and firmly within their control. Even if you and your spouse have been bitterly arguing for some time and feel like you have reached a tipping point, it is still worth exploring the potential benefits mediation could offer.

Evaluate Existing Prenuptial Contracts

If you and your spouse had any form of prenuptial contract in place, you will need to review this document at the beginning of the divorce process. If the two of you have been regularly revisiting your prenuptial contract to adjust it over time, this document could act as a roadmap for your divorce process and save you both a significant amount of time and stress. If you mediate your divorce, the mediator and your respective attorneys will review the prenuptial contract to determine whether it remains enforceable. Similarly, if you litigate your divorce, an Oklahoma City, OK family court judge will need to review the contract before it can apply to your divorce case.

Hire Reliable Legal Representation

It is a common misconception that handling divorce on your own will save you a significant amount of money. Approaching the divorce process without legal counsel will likely cost you much more in time and missed opportunities than you could potentially save on legal fees. Take your time and locate an experienced Oklahoma City, OK divorce lawyer who can help you approach your case with more confidence.

If you are unsure what to expect in your divorce case and do not know the best approach to the situation, contact a reliable Oklahoma City, OK divorce attorney as soon as possible.