How to Prepare for Divorce Part 1: Research & Advice
Ending a relationship is hard, even if you know it’s the right thing to do. Divorce is an emotional process, but also an important legal matter. This is why, if you have decided to divorce, it’s important to make a plan.
You may have decided to divorce and haven’t yet told your spouse. Or your spouse said they wanted to divorce, or you think that they are going to soon. If you believe that divorce is most likely in your future, it is crucial to get your ducks in a row, so to speak, as soon as possible. Dissolving a marriage can be both challenging and time-consuming. This can be helped, however, by getting prepared and developing a plan so you can begin your divorce from a position of strength.
In order to simplify this process and shed light on the essentials, we’ve listed a few of the most practical ways you can start to prepare for your upcoming divorce.
Understand How the Divorce Process Works
It is important to acquaint yourself with how a divorce works in your state. Your attorney can help you with this, but you can also do your own research. Learn how the state divides property. If you have children, read up on child custody and child support proceedings. You may wish to get advice from friends or family that have been through a divorce, but keep in mind that each divorce is a unique legal proceeding and what applied to their divorce may not apply to yours.
Consult an Attorney
There are several things you should do to prepare for the divorce process, but you might not know what they are unless you consult with a qualified family law attorney.
It may seem premature to contact an attorney about a divorce, but it’s never too early to seek legal advice to understand your situation and legal options. An experienced divorce attorney can tell you what the beginning stages of the divorce process look like, what types of conversations you need to have with your ex, what financial repercussions you can expect, and more. Then you can plan together how and when to file for your divorce.
Look for an attorney that is experienced with the issues present in your divorce case. For instance, if anticipate a custody battle, search for attorneys with experience in high-conflict custody cases and custody litigation. Or, if you own a business or have considerable assets, look for divorce attorneys who specialize in complex property division and high net worth estates.
An important note: if your case involves abuse or domestic violence, speak to an attorney immediately so you can take steps to ensure your family’s safety.
Gather Legal Documents
There is a lot of paperwork needed in the divorce process. By getting a jump-start on gathering your own copies of this information, you will be better prepared.
Go through your financial documents, legal certificates, account information, tax statements, property deeds and titles, insurance policies, and any other important paperwork and make copies for your own records. Keep digital files and hard copies of everything you gather and consider keeping at least one hard copy of these records at the home of someone you trust for safekeeping.
Take Stock of Your Finances
During a divorce, one household is split into two. And it typically costs more to pay for two households instead of one, so you need to understand your financial situation so you can be prepared for this change in your cost of living. Take stock of your income and expenses, including debts.
You also will likely want to create your own bank and credit card accounts in your name only. In these accounts, keep your earnings and save up what you can to create a safe cushion for any surprise expenses once the divorce process begins.
Think About How You’ll Live During the Divorce
Divorce takes a while – typically 6 to 18 months, or more, depending on your particular situation. You and your spouse will likely wish to live apart during this time. So, think about where you want to live and how you will support yourself. If you plan to move out, research available residences, the cost of rent, utilities, new furniture, and other expenses. If you wish to stay in your current residence, can you handle the cost of the mortgage/rent payment on your own? Although one spouse may be able to seek temporary spousal support if they rely on the other spouse financially, both spouses will still need to think about other added expenses.
Prepare Yourself Emotionally to Talk to Your Family
It is difficult to tell your spouse you want a divorce, if you haven’t already. And telling your children about your divorce is a hugely daunting task. Not to mention telling the rest of your family. It is important to prepare for how you want to have these conversations, because approaching them with a level head and emotions under control will help you get through it with less conflict and drama. In the meantime, focus on making your children a priority and building a healthy, happy environment where they will feel comfortable talking to you about any concerns they have about your divorce.
Need an Attorney? Get in Touch with Our Firm
At McKinley Irvin, we understand precisely what it takes to prepare for the divorce process. Whatever challenges you’re facing, our firm has the knowledge necessary to help you and the resources to ensure you receive the best representation possible. If you’re ready to prepare for your upcoming divorce, we are here to help.
Contact McKinley Irvin today to discuss your divorce with one of our family law attorneys.