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One of the hardest parts about a divorce is that even when the relationship is over, you are still legally tied to the other person. A strong relationship often leads to a messy and painful split, and it can be hard to focus on separating legally when you are focusing on healing and moving on with your life.

Especially when there is a bad break, having an attorney will help you figure out what your rights are and what your realistic goals are in your divorce. An attorney can take a confusing and stressful situation and deal with the paperwork, so you can focus on yourself and your children.

It’s important to begin the divorce process early, because the longer you’re tied to your spouse the greater the temptation to fight. These fights can take many forms, from turning off the other person’s phone to threatening e-mails. Having a final decree of divorce in place will help avoid these problems, and provide a recourse when they come up.

When children are involved, you and your spouse need to be able to focus on helping them through the transition and learning to work together to raise them while separated. Even when you don’t have children, it’s better to focus on yourself than to spend hours working on legal documents that bring up a lot of difficult emotions.

It’s nice to have someone in your corner when you’re trying to come up from under an emotional and overwhelming situation. That’s what an attorney is for.