HOW TO NOT LOSE IT ALL IN THE DIVORCE

Out of all the curveballs life throws you, getting a divorce is one of the hardest. When you got married, you thought your relationship would last forever, and you probably couldn't imagine your life without that special someone. Now, you can not only imagine your life without them; you also think your life would be better if they were no longer in it. Still, that doesn't make it easy to get a divorce, even if you know it's the right decision. Since getting a divorce can be distressing and soul-crushing, Men's Health reached out to Scott C. Trout, managing partner and CEO of Cordell and Cordell, a law firm that specializes in divorce, to learn how to get a divorce as seamlessly as possible.

What is the first step to getting a divorce?
Some couples go for counseling before they turn to divorce; others do a trial separation to see if it's what they really want, Trout says. However you ended up deciding to end your marriage, the first step of getting a divorce is filing for one with a court. Before filing you want to make sure your bank accounts are in order so your soon to be ex-spouse isn't able to take all of the money. You should also decide on which items you'd like to keep. If there are children involved, you also may want to formulate a plan on what type of custody you want.

How long does the divorce process take?
It depends. Divorces can take two months or two years. If you're fighting your spouse over issues like child custody, child support, and property division, the process will take much longer than in "uncontested" cases, Trout says.

How much does a divorce cost?
It is very difficult to predict the cost of a divorce. It all depends on the issues involved and how your soon to be ex-partner responds. "However, the more contested issues (i.e., custody, property valuations, fitness of a parent) that arise will add to the cost of the divorce," Trout says.

Resolve issues outside of court
"Litigation is expensive. Spouses need to work together to resolve various issues to avoid massive legal fees from piling up, as attorneys will be racking up hours in preparation for trial," Trout says. Utilize alternative dispute resolution methods If your partner is open to the idea, try using mediator.

How does a court decide on child custody?
If you've ever watched any court TV, you've likely heard the phrase "best interests of the child."

What are some big mistakes men make when facing a divorce?
Moving out
Waiting for your partner to file
Concealing information from your lawyer
Revealing too much on the internet
Being ill-prepared for testimony and interviews
Doing a sloppy job on financial records
Talking too much, especially to your wife

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