Your Guide to Divorce


Planning Ahead When Leaving a Marriage: A Guide to Safety, Preparation, and Kindness

Leaving a marriage is never an easy decision. It involves a myriad of emotions, legal considerations, and practical steps that can feel overwhelming. As the managing partner at Northwest Law in Spokane, Washington, I’ve seen firsthand the complexities and challenges that come with this transition. My goal is to provide you with compassionate and practical advice to help you navigate this difficult time with safety, preparation, and kindness.


First and foremost, it’s crucial to build a strong support system. This could be friends, family members, or professional counselors. Having a network of people who understand and support you can make a significant difference in your emotional well-being during this period. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help; talking through your feelings and having someone to lean on can provide the strength you need to move forward.


Before making the final decision to divorce, consider seeking counseling. Professional counselors can help you explore your feelings, understand the root causes of marital issues, and work toward possible reconciliation. Sometimes, the clarity gained through counseling can help couples find a new path together or prepare them emotionally for separation if that’s the best course.

For those with a strong religious background, turning to your faith or spiritual advisor can be particularly helpful. Many religious traditions, such as Catholicism, have specific views and procedures regarding marriage and divorce. For instance, Catholics facing divorce may find that their church standing comes into question. However, options like seeking an annulment might be available, which, if granted, can maintain one’s status within the church.

Similarly, in Judaism, obtaining a religious divorce is necessary for the marriage to be fully dissolved in the eyes of the religious community. Without it, individuals may face restrictions on future religious marriages. Engaging with your faith community can provide not only spiritual solace but also practical guidance on how to proceed in a manner that aligns with your beliefs.


Before taking any steps toward leaving, start by gathering important documents and personal property from your home. This includes financial statements, property deeds, insurance policies, passports, and any other legal documents. Make copies of everything and store them in a safe place. This ensures you have the necessary information and evidence to support your case should any disputes arise.


To maintain financial independence, open separate bank and investment accounts. This will help you manage your finances and ensure clear and accurate records of income and assets. It’s a step that can prevent financial complications down the line and provide you with greater control over your financial future.


If you are the one looking to pursue a divorce, you should use the advantage of this extra time. It would be wise to carefully go through everything you hold near and dear, and figure out what matters most to you. Take an inventory of all your significant assets. This includes real estate, vehicles, jewelry, artwork, and any other valuable items. Listing these assets ensures transparency and can simplify the division of property. It also helps speed this process along and encourages a fair settlement that reflects the contributions of both parties.


Engage the services of a family lawyer early in the process. A legal professional can guide you through the preparation and filing of the necessary documents for the dissolution of marriage. They can provide invaluable advice, protect your rights, and help you navigate the legal intricacies involved in a divorce.

Timing is crucial when deciding to inform your spouse about your decision to leave. It’s often best to wait until you’re fully prepared to move forward before having this conversation. Prematurely revealing your intentions can lead to unnecessary complications and heightened emotions. Choose a time when you feel ready and when it’s safe to do so.

Be Considerate


Throughout this process, strive to be considerate of your spouse’s feelings. Divorce is a painful experience for both parties, and showing empathy and respect can make the transition smoother. Communicate openly and honestly, and try to avoid actions that could escalate tensions or cause unnecessary hurt.

Have a Plan


It’s essential to have a plan in place for worst-case scenarios. Consider where you will stay if you need to leave the marital home quickly, how you will support yourself, and how you will handle custody arrangements if children are involved. Being prepared for unexpected challenges can provide a sense of stability and control during an uncertain time.

Expect Your Feelings to Change


Finally, acknowledge that your feelings may change throughout this process. Divorce is a journey with many emotional ups and downs. Allow yourself the space to grieve, reflect, and adapt. It’s normal to experience a range of emotions, and seeking professional help, like therapy, can be beneficial in managing these changes.

At Northwest Law, we understand the importance of handling divorce with care and compassion. By planning ahead and taking thoughtful, measured steps, you can navigate this difficult transition with dignity and respect for yourself and your spouse. If you need legal assistance or support during this time, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

If you are in immediate danger within your home, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 ASAP.

Phone: 509-362-1292
Address: 421 W Riverside Ave. Suite 308, Spokane, WA 99201

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Written by Mrs. Amy Kay Scott, owner of Send Help Media.