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If you’re going to adopt, you need to prepare your home. On one hand, this is simply a realistic goal; you’re going to be adding a new child and you need to make sure you’re ready. On the other hand, you have to consider the home study and the legal side of getting approved for the adoption. Getting your house in order helps you work through this process.

But what do you need to do to make sure that your home is ready? A few things to keep in mind include the following:

  • Check to make sure the child has his or her own room that is large enough to satisfy the guidelines. Most standard bedrooms will work, but double-check to be sure.
  • Go over all of the systems and amenities that the room needs to have. This could include things like a working window, an egressed window if the room is in a basement, access to heat and AC, proper electrical power, and the like.
  • Check the safety regulations, especially relating to fire. Does the room have a fire alarm? Does it work? Do you want to add a carbon monoxide alarm as well?
  • Add child-proofing to your home, if needed. This depends on the age of the child. If you’re adopting an older child, you don’t have to change much. For young children and infants, though, you want things like baby gates, outlet covers, locks on cabinets and more.
  • Clean your home so that it is tidy inviting. Sure, you can technically pass the inspection if the home is cluttered and messy. However, you want to remember how important first impressions are. Try to create the best possible impression when the child services worker steps in the door. They want to place children in homes that are safe, comfortable, inviting and loved.

Getting the house ready for the inspection isn’t really about the inspection; it’s about the child. After you do this, your home will really be ready for that child to enter your life and things will go smoothly for all of you. Keep that big picture in mind.

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Divorce is expensive in an of itself and can have long-lasting financial implications for the spouses. Not only will the divorcing spouses have to pay court costs, but they will generally have to divide their resources as a part of the process.

Keeping costs low is a priority for some couples, while securing a fair and reasonable outcome is of the utmost importance to others. The higher your family's overall assets and the greater the value of your marital estate, the more important accuracy and fairness become.

When you have significant, valuable assets, that wealth can be an adequate motive for your spouse to try to hide assets from you in the hope that the courts won't force them to share the value of those assets with you.

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If you have made the decision to move forward with divorce, you understand there are certain changes you will experience. Regardless of your income level and how amicable you may be with your spouse, it is probable you will experience some financial disruption. There are things you can do now that will help you prepare for what is ahead, allowing you to lay the foundation for a strong post-divorce future.

The choices you make during divorce will have an impact on you for years to come. Divorce is a complex process, and it's easy to see how some may allow their emotions to drive their decision-making during this process. How you feel in the moment is not indicative of what makes the most sense long-term, and preparing for your divorce will help you keep your focus on what is most important.

What should you do?

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Divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging process for every member of the family. Even when both spouses resolve to remain civil and work through issues together, they may not agree on everything. However, this does not necessarily mean it is inevitable they will go to court. There are ways to resolve even the most complex disputes outside of the courtroom.

Mediation is a process that allows two parties to work together on their issues and resolve disputes without litigating. If you and your spouse can discuss issues in a respectful manner and have the desire to maintain more control over your final divorce order, you may consider the benefits of mediation. Before you make any decisions regarding your divorce, it is in your interests to consider the options available to you.

Why mediate?

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When a marriage comes to an end, there are many things to decide, whether between the spouses or before a judge. For example, most every couple has property to divide, and many have the custody and support of children to consider. However, one of the most controversial and misunderstood issues of divorce is spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony.

Spousal support is not an automatic part of a divorce order or settlement. Receiving an alimony award is a rare event because many spouses have relatively equitable incomes when they divorce. Because there may be advantages and disadvantages to receiving alimony, including understanding how it may affect your taxes, it is wise to discuss the matter thoroughly with your attorney to fully understand how it applies to you.

Are you eligible for spousal support?

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