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Deciding to start your divorce can be a long, painful process. This life-altering decision isn't one to be made lightly. If you're thinking about a divorce, it's important to speak to professionals and peers that can listen to you and provide objective advice. An attorney, counselor, friend or support group can be instrumental in helping you get through the decision-making process.

But once you're sure you want to start your divorce, it's important to be as knowledgeable as possible to help you prepare for divorce proceedings. A divorce lawyer is an important person to connect with right away to provide you with important information and relevant advice regarding the steps involved in divorce proceedings, as well as other options available to you.

Early on, as you start your divorce, your lawyer will help you with important decisions about living arrangements, separation and other details that affect your daily life. At this point, it's important to have your attorney write out these details to avoid conflict during the divorce proceedings.

Once you've consulted with your divorce lawyer and are completely certain you're ready to start your divorce, it will be time to file a Complaint for Divorce with the appropriate Probate and Family Court. This process gets the ball rolling in the court system and is necessary for beginning your divorce proceedings. The time it takes for your next court date to arrive can depend on several important factors. These factors include the busyness of the court, the accuracy with which your papers will be completed, how long it takes to serve your spouse, what the grounds are and whether or not your spouse contests any portion of the divorce.

A divorce attorney can help you with each of these steps to ensure that paperwork is fully completed and each step is taken at the appropriate time. At this time, as reality begins to set-in, the assistance of a support group can be very helpful. Even if a divorce is the best decision, that doesn't make it an easy one. Now is not the time to be brave, nor is it a good time to be withdrawn. Lean on every possible support system available to you throughout the process.

On occasion, people will wonder if it's a good idea to represent themselves in a divorce. This can work in a simple divorce, where your spouse is also representing him or herself and neither of you are contesting anything. But, in most cases, a lawyer who specializes in divorce is important to ensuring your rights and best interests are represented.