When you have exhausted all other options to preserve your marriage, divorce may seem at first like a last resort. For some, however, divorce can represent a new beginning and an opportunity to maintain a civil relationship with your ex-spouse. This is important particularly if you want the process of dissolving your marriage to happen without headaches. Nonetheless, you want to make certain that you are treated fairly throughout the divorce.

When you know what is most important to you with regards to your divorce, you may discover that you will receive fair treatment throughout the procedure. A reputable attorney can assist and make sure your needs and wants are voiced and made clear.

In thinking of issues that will come up during your divorce proceedings, here are some things that may be important to you as you come to an agreement with your soon to be former spouse:

1) Children and custody. Regardless of your feelings for your former spouse, the welfare of your children remain one of your highest priorities. You want to make certain that they are not traumatized by the divorce process, and that their needs are met. The question of sole versus joint custody will certainly be an issue, so it’s important to discuss the matter civilly with your parenting partner and his/her attorney to come to a reasonable solution that brings little disruption.

2) Jointly-owned property. If you and your spouse have owned a home together or another type of property, you must come to a decision regarding its fate. Do you sell and split the money, or does one partner assume ownership while the other walks away, or has a responsibility through alimony to help keep up payments? You will need to confer with your attorneys on such matters.

3) Time. You don’t want proceedings to drag on forever, especially if you find you have reached an impasse with your ex over something like custody or splitting assets. Lengthy debates can put a strain on your relationship with your ex, as well as create unneeded stress that follows you home and to work. When you feel your divorce has reached a boiling point, take a step back and consult with your attorney on the best course of action.

A divorce is not exactly an occasion to celebrate (though some might argue), but you can work toward an agreeable and amicable split with your spouse if you know your priorities up front and act professional throughout the proceedings. Know what’s important, and cooperate.