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Learn the unwritten guide to divorce

There are plenty of rules that you have to follow when you're going through a divorce -- but not all of them are written down in law books.

Just the same, knowing what they are is important to a successful divorce:

1. You are your own best advocate

That doesn't mean you don't need an attorney (because you do), and it doesn't mean that you shouldn't listen to your attorney (because you should). It means you need to do your homework when choosing that attorney in the first place.

Don't pick someone at random and don't pick someone because he or she did a good job for your cousin. Educate yourself about the attorneys in your area, their reputations for everything from fairness to how well they work with other lawyers and judges and pick the attorney that's right for your situation.

You don't want to bring an attorney who operates like a "real shark" if you hope to negotiate in friendly waters with your soon-to-be-ex. You also don't want to waste time with a collaborative attorney when you know your spouse is a narcissist who isn't going to play nice.

2. Get your records together

You've probably heard this before because you know you need all kinds of records just to get through the property division.

Well, you need a whole new notebook for the next set of records -- record notes about every conversation or encounter that you have regarding your divorce. Mark down the date, name, time, the approximate duration of the interaction, what was talked about and what was agreed upon or promised.

If something goes badly and you need to hand over evidence in court of your side of the story, you'll be glad you have this.

3. Find a friend to go with you to court

You need companionship, comfort and a source of strength to get through court dates and hearings. It also helps to have a witness just in case you have some sort of interaction with your spouse that the bailiff, attorneys and judge can't see. If you're threatened or intimidated, your friend can serve as a witness about the encounter.

For more divorce advice, the experienced lawyers in our office may be able to help you.

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