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You play a vital role in your divorce process

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If you are considering or seeking a divorce, my best advice is to find out all you can about the divorce process itself. Knowledge is power, so the more you know, the more engaged you will be in your divorce, and the more empowered you will be in determining its outcome.

Your divorce attorney and his or her team will be a helpful resource to you on all things legal during your divorce. Your role will be to ask questions, communicate often with your legal team and provide them with documents and information they need quickly.

There is no doubt that you will be reeling with the emotions that accompany divorce, but you must get into the driver's seat of this process immediately. Realize that the decisions you make now will significantly impact you and your children, if applicable, for the rest of your lives.

Meeting regularly with a therapist during this process can do wonders for you and your family in coming to grips with divorce, emotionally and psychologically. It's all a good idea to ask for the support of close friends and family during this time. Then, when you meet with your legal team, you will be ready to focus on that aspect of the process.

One area that I make sure my clients focus on early in the divorce process is securing temporary orders. Temporary orders set the rules while the case is pending. For example, who pays which bills, who will be responsible for the children, etc. If abuse is an issue, it may also be covered in these orders. If you live in the greater Houston metropolitan area, it can take from six months to a year before a divorce is finalized. So, it is in everyone's best interest to make this a priority immediately after filing. Having temporary orders in place also will bring peace of mind.

To assist your legal team in getting those temporary orders in place requires that you develop a budget of all household expenses and disclose any presence of abuse or the threat of abuse. This typically includes the mortgage payment, all utilities, car payments, etc. Since each divorce is unique, what is included in the temporary orders depends on each couple's specific circumstance.

Generally speaking, this is part of the "discovery" process that each divorcing couple goes through. Each spouse's legal team will require that all assets and debts be disclosed as part of the process of coming to an agreement of how the marital estate will be divided.

Depend on your legal team to walk you through all the necessary steps in navigating the divorce process. Your role will be to assemble required documents and ask questions so you are engaged in the process and you fully understand what is going on.

Join Trey Yates at one of the 2014 upcoming Guide to Good Divorce seminars in Houston: Sat. Feb 1, Sat. May 3, Sat. July 26, or Sat. Sept. 27, all from 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Cost is only $49 and includes a light brunch and all materials. For details or to register, visit www.GuideToGoodDivorce.com or call 713-932-7177.

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