How to Prepare for Divorce

person in white long sleeve shirt putting their wedding ring on a glass table

The decision to divorce your spouse is likely not an easy one, and before you move forward, you will want to make sure you are prepared for the marriage dissolution process. Take these steps before you file for divorce to ease the process and put you in the best possible position.

Organize Documents

Divorces can be expensive, so organizing your documents in advance will save you time and money. Gather every document that you believe to be relevant and make copies. This can include:

  • Past tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Investment statements
  • Retirement accounts
  • Insurance policies
  • Mortgage documents
  • Vehicle titles
  • Credit card statements

If your spouse is self-employed, get as much information as possible about the finances of their business.

Be There for Your Children

A divorce can be stressful for the children, but there are ways to reduce the impact on their lives. Try to come up with a plan on how to co-parent with your spouse, but do not involve the children or force them to take sides. If you plan to gain custody of the children, do not leave them during the divorce. Plan to document your role in your children’s lives to help your case.

Don’t Move Out

It may be your first instinct to get out of the house and have your own space during a divorce. However, unless there is domestic abuse, it is generally a good idea to remain in the marital home, as moving out could hurt your case. If you move out and your spouse pays the mortgage while your divorce is pending, it could influence the judge during the property distribution. If you have school-aged children and you want to remain in the marital home until they finish school, moving out makes it more difficult to negotiate keeping the home.

Organize Your Finances

Determine what resources you will have to live on after your divorce. If possible, make sure you have sufficient funds to pay for any expenses for at least three months. Revising your expenses will give you a better idea of where you stand and what you will need to negotiate.

Check Your Credit

If you don’t have any credit cards in your name alone, you will want to establish your own credit and open an account in your name. Use your credit card sparingly and make sure you pay it off in full every month. This will help you establish a good credit score and avoid being cut off when you file. If you have joint accounts, close them before proceedings to avoid dealing with an angry spouse running up charges.

Remain Civil

Going through a divorce is not easy, and your life may be intensely scrutinized. However, it is crucial to remain on your best behavior and be civil with your spouse not only for the sake of your children, but also to potentially avoid court. If your case goes to court, behaving in a proper manner gives your spouse less leverage against you. If custody is an issue, prioritizing your children and their needs will help ease the divorce process.

Obtain Legal Counsel when Preparing for a Divorce

If you are going through a divorce, you will need all the help you can get. At Yates & Wheland, we are here to make the process go as smoothly as possible and guide you through this difficult time.

Spend time with your friends and family and lean on them for support. Stay close to home, take care of yourself, and get the legal counsel you need. With these tips in mind, you can streamline your divorce and find peace in this difficult time.

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