Sometimes, so much thought is put into the decision of whether or not to get a divorce that some individuals do not know what to do once they have made the decision. You may have told your spouse that you want a divorce, you and your spouse may have mutually reached the decision, or there may have been a triggering event.
The next step after making the decision is to consult with an attorney. Even if you and your spouse have decided to reach an agreement and draft the paperwork on your own, it is important not to skip this step. Many family law attorneys provide a free initial consultation. This is a valuable way for you to gain some knowledge about your rights and decide if you and your spouse can handle it on your own.
After you have consulted with an attorney, and he/she has described the necessary documents and procedural steps, it is important to get organized. You will need to have a very clear picture of what you/your spouse own, what debts you may have, and whether either of you has any non-marital claims. You should make a list and gather recent statements.
Another important step is to start thinking about what life will look like after divorce (or, at least how you would like it to look). This may mean that you need to think about new housing, separating bank accounts, obtaining a temporary storage unit, etc. Thinking about these things early on will hopefully make the transition easier and prevent you from making decisions out of desperation.