6. Prepare for plummeting income.

During Amy Zellmer's marriage, her husband had the "big job" that paid for their household expenses, while she cultivated her Minneapolis photography business. When the couple divorced, Zellmer fell into dire financial straits. "I had to drain my IRA account just to stay afloat," she says.

And hers isn't an uncommon story: Households with children in which the parents divorced and remain divorced for at least six years face a 40% to 45% average drop in family income, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Divorcing or separating mothers are also nearly three times as likely as married mothers to end up in poverty, according to a 2011 study by the Family Research Council.

7. Go cry somewhere else.

The financial strain of a divorce pales in comparison with the emotional toll. Among people age 40 and up, 28% experience depression following their divorce, while 63% of women and 44% of men have high levels of stress, according to an AARP study. Elizabeth Lombardo, a psychologist and the author of "A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness," says it's an emotional roller coaster: "At first, you may be excited, but then there are a lot of negative emotions and consequences that can adversely affect all aspects of your life." But a lawyer's isn't the ideal shoulder to cry on. "They may let you vent," says therapist Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill, author of "A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage," but they aren't trained to offer support.

8. You may not even need me.

Facing her third divorce, dating-site founder LaVonya Reeves decided to skip the lawyer. And she didn't regret it: "It saved me a ton of money," she says. Amicably divorcing duos like Reeves and her ex -- who have no children, shared assets or debts, and who are able to support themselves without each other's help -- can skip attorneys' fees and opt for mediation or self-representation, pros say. The National Conflict Resolution Center estimates that divorce mediation costs $2,000 to $5,000 a couple, a fraction of the price of litigation.

But while lawyers are optional, using one is like having an insurance policy against mistakes, says the ABA's Kessler. Kathy Minella, a family law attorney in San Diego, says there's a middle road: Spouses can try settling as much as possible between themselves and through mediation before they begin paying their lawyers.

9. I don't have time for you.

Many divorce attorneys have yet to recover their prerecession support staff, so they're handling many of the office duties themselves. "You can wait for days to get a call back," says Erica Manfred, author of "He's History, You're Not." Not only did the ranks of the legal profession diminish by 4% from 2007 to 2011, but hiring is still sluggish, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And lawyers may soon have even less time for each client, because some experts expect the divorce rate to spike in the near future.

If the economy continues to rebound, those who put their divorces on hold during the recession -- an estimated 38% of currently married Americans -- may now go through with them, says W. Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project.

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10. I'm dragging my feet.

There's a correlation between having an attorney and having a long legal battle. Divorces in which both parties have a lawyer take nearly four months longer than when both don't have legal counsel, according to a 2010 study by Marquette University Law School. One possible reason: Those most likely to hire counsel have "complicating factors such as higher husband income, longer marriage and minor children," according to the study. But the researchers also concluded that "it is possible that lawyers deliberately extend the process so as to collect higher fees."

Ann Bradley, author of "Divorce: The Real Truth and Hidden Dangers," goes a step further: "Some lawyers add fuel to the emotional drama to keep you fighting." Kessler disputes the idea that lawyers drag out divorces to extend fees. It's their job, he says, to be thorough -- to avoid mistakes. And that takes time.

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