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A Crash Course In Divorce: What To Know, What To Do

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Divorced Couple On Couch
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Although the divorce rate in America is no longer on the rise—it’s actually slightly declining—more people file for divorce in January than any other month of the year.

According to U.S. Census data, couples who tied the knot in the 1990s are less likely to split than those who got married in the '70s and '80s. While these stats debunk the notion that 50 percent of U.S. marriages will end in divorce, it doesn’t neglect the fact that people are getting divorced every single day, and it can be a stressful, emotional and confusing process to endure—plus, it’s expensive.

If you’re getting divorced for the first time, you could also be the first person you know to do so. This means you may have more questions than answers. Particularly, if you’re young, and calling it quits shortly after saying “I do.” “The divorce rate is increasing substantially amongst people that are under thirty-five years of age,” says Gregory Frank, the founder of new online divorce community DivorceForce.com, which aims to provide a safe and collaborative community for anyone navigating divorce. “Information and knowledge is paramount for getting through and for adapting to a divorce.” Agreed. We asked Frank, who started the site with a partner after they both endured horrific divorces, for a crash course in divorce basics and chatter to better prepare anyone who’s seeking to end their marriage.

No One Is Immune To Divorce
Since launching in November, Divorce Force has seen an equal amount of men and women joining the digital community for support, and many of them are millennials. “We're seeing people in the 20s, 30s, and we've even got people up into their 70s talking about divorce,” says Frank. “We're also seeing kids that are in college talking about their parent's divorce.”

Divorce Does Happen Before 35
“Divorce is really starting to effect people thirty-five and under,” says Frank. Couples are far less fearful of what others might thing about their decision to end a marriage, sometimes even before their first or second wedding anniversary.

You Really Need To Talk About It
“The best place to get knowledge is to talk to other people that have gone through it,” adds Frank, who offers users a chance to search for others based on location, meeting preferences, divorce lawyers and beyond. “If you're thirty or twenty-eight and you are now faced with a divorce and you're going to go talk to parents or friends that have never been through the process, that's probably not the best place. The first place I would look toward are people who have gone through the divorce, have gone through it in your location, in the same court system. This way you can start to understand the local laws, regulations and just the process itself.”

Prepare For An Emotional Roller Coaster Ride
“Divorce is the second most stressful life event next to the death of a spouse,” insists Frank. “It's important that you understand that you are going to be thrust into a situation and you're going to have emotions that you've never felt before. That comes from social pressures and pressures from your spouse, family, and work environment. It's really an awful situation to be thrust into."

You Don’t Just Need Any Lawyer, You Need The Right One
Seeking out the right professional is also extremely important when you’re moving forward with a divorce. “You really need to vet the process and find accurate reviews and very specific feedback on an attorney to make sure you are actually going to be fairly represented and that that they will have your best interest at heart,” adds Frank. Users can also find attorney reviews on Divorce Force written by people who actually successfully divorced using that attorney.

Put On Your Boxing Gloves and Be Prepared To Fight
“You have to really understand how you can wake up in six months and be in a very uncomfortable position,” says Frank when speaking about how difficult and heartbreaking a lengthy, contested divorce can be. “You can be facing bankruptcy. You can be living in a different location. It can get really nasty.”

For more advice for divorce first-timers, visit DivorceForce.com.