If you ask many of my colleagues how the divorce process is started, many would probably say that a divorce begins with the filing of a divorce complaint. I disagree with that. The divorce process starts long before a divorce complaint is filed. The breakdown of a marriage sometimes takes years. At the beginning stages of prolonged marital disagreements, I think marriage counseling could and should be used by a couple if there is any chance that the parties can resolve their differences. If that doesn’t work or counseling would be futile, the divorce process should begin. I believe that the very first step in the divorce process is meeting with a qualified divorce lawyer. The breakup of a marriage, even a short marriage where a couple has not had time to acquire significant property, may be complicated. For longer marriages which involve children, property division and support, the process is very complicated. The old saying that knowledge is power is exceptionally true in the area of divorce law. A competent matrimonial attorney can step you through the important, and perhaps less important issues that you will need to deal with during the divorce. Some of the more important issues involve child custody, child support, alimony, equitable distribution of your property, parental alienation after the divorce, domestic violence, emotional abuse, and other issues. Once you know your rights, it is much easier to begin the divorce process.