Money Divorce Resource Guide

Divorce may not be easy, but you have what it takes to get through it. It's time to take your life into your own hands and pull together the resources you need to make a fresh start.

Sure, divorce stinks. You have to dig into what's become the worst part of your life and clean up a relationship gone bad. But you don't have to go it alone. Honestly, this is a time to look outward for professionals to guide you both financially and emotionally.

Considering that some 50 percent of marriages still end in divorce, there are thousands of support groups, therapists, financial planners and accountants who can help you sort through the emotional issues and hard numbers. This is a difficult time in your life and you need a support crew bent on ensuring that you end up with what's rightfully yours -- and that you maintain your sanity along the way.

Here are six key resources you can tap to get the help you need:

1. For legal advice, contact the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (www.aaml.org). Referrals of lawyers are best, when they come from a friend, family member or coworker who has faced the same mess. This is typically the way most divorcing women land a lawyer. If, however, you have trouble finding one you feel comfortable with, you can get in touch with the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. This organization can provide you with a list of matrimonial lawyers in your area. Also, your county divorce court may have a list they can provide you with.

Before you hire an attorney, do a little homework. Has the attorney you're looking at handled cases similar to yours? Has the firm she works for? Ask for a detailed accounting of services and fees so that you know exactly what you're paying for and how that tab is rung up. And make sure you understand your legal rights. Your lawyer should be able to explain them to you, as well as how she will make sure they are respected. Keep track of the time the lawyer spends on the phone and in person with you. You don't want to waste their time on your emotional issues. It will cost you, not them.

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