Byars & Hall, PLLC

Attorneys at Law - Fort Smith, Arkansas



Divorce is a difficult life conflict to navigate, even in the best of circumstances – and most divorcing couples are not in the best of circumstances.

But there are some things you can do to make things easier on yourself and your spouse and children. Keep in mind the following suggestions as you prepare for your divorce case, and you can make the process a little less contentious, and a little easier for all involved.

Keep Your Finances Under Control

It can be expensive to dissolve a marriage. Between legal filing fees, the costs of necessary professional services, and the practical costs of setting up a separate household, on top of normal everyday expenses, the price of achieving freedom from a marriage can seem daunting.

An important first step: getting a clear picture of your existing financial status.

Don’t incur additional debt if at all possible. It could complicate division and separation of your marital finances, and will only increase the “bottom line” cost of your divorce.

It’s important not to dismiss or discount any potential remedy in a divorce action. You may feel initially that you do not want to ask for or receive alimony, only to find later on that the expenditures are greater than your income can support. Keep an open mind and don’t make any ultimate decisions on issues related to financial settlements until you’ve spoken with a qualified, experienced Arkansas divorce lawyer.

By the same token, don’t agree to settlement proposals or suggested division of assets too soon. It’s very common to feel a certain amount of urgency, once the decision to divorce has been made. Resist the urge to settle too quickly, and you’ll be in a better position to protect your fiscal position down the road.

Collect the Important Papers Early

It’s a good idea to start making copies of all the important documents related to your assets – marital and otherwise – as soon as possible.

Include copies of all mortgage documents, tax documents, any records relating to investment and bank accounts, credit card statements, insurance policies and title documents.

Consider Therapy

Divorce is a highly emotional process. Refusing to see a therapist may be counterproductive.

A qualified marital counselor can help you and your spouse work through difficult communication problems. Even if the therapy does not succeed in saving your marriage, a good counselor can help you come to terms with what’s happening and help give you the tools you need to parent effectively and deal evenly and fairly with your soon-to-be former spouse.

Be Mindful of the Effect of Divorce on Your Children

Recent studies suggesting that divorce has long-lasting negative effects on children have received a lot of media attention. Don’t let this kind of insidious pressure convince you to ignore your own good judgment.

Be mindful of the difficulties divorce presents to children, though. Resolve with your spouse to refuse to disparage each other in front of the children, and make sure you each give the children as much time and attention as possible. It’s also important to reassure them – as many times as you can – that the breakup of the marriage has nothing to do with them.

Children are emotionally resilient, but they need reassurance and support, just as much as you do, if not more so. Discussions about the divorce should be confined to matter-of-fact explanations about what is going to happen. They may have many questions, which should be answered in age-appropriate ways, but avoid talking about your stress or fears concerning the divorce process.

Also, don’t be afraid to seek counseling for your children as well.

Explore Mediation or Collaborative Divorce

Mediation is a process of compromise in which a trained third party mediator acts as a facilitator to help you and your spouse reach an agreement on one or more points of dispute in your divorce case.

Collaborative divorce relies on a team of professionals, including attorneys and therapists, to achieve an equitable distribution of assets.

Both of these processes, where available, can serve to reduce the emotional and mental stress of the divorce process. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that these alternatives are perceived by the parties as being less adversarial than traditional divorce litigation.

Byars & Hall: Your Advocates in Family Law Cases

To schedule an initial consultation, use the contact form or call us at 479-494-1800 for any divorce or custody case within the State of Arkansas or Texas.