How to Prepare for a Divorce

For most couples, preparing for a divorce requires at least as much effort as getting married did, and in many cases more. Depending upon whether you are the person who initiated the divorce, the recipient of divorce papers, or the action is by mutual agreement, the level of difficulty and emotional impact varies, but in all cases, there are certain steps you will need to take. Not every item on the list below will apply to your situation but going through them will give you a good idea of what you need to be doing.

  • Find a divorce attorney that matches your goals. If you’re angry or feeling betrayed you may be leaning towards finding a ‘shark’ who will inflict as much financial damage on your spouse as possible, but this can be a counterproductive goal. There are many sad stories of couples spending thousands more on fighting than the asset they were fighting over was worth. Investigate mediated and collaborative divorces to see how the process feels, and interview a few different lawyers to find one that you’re comfortable with.
  • Collect all of your financial information. This means making a list of all assets – both marital and those that were owned prior to your marriage – as well as all debts, bank accounts, tax forms, and more. Don’t forget jewelry, automobiles, antiques, and art.
  • Find as much documentation on income as possible – both yours and your spouse’s.
  • If you don’t already have your own credit history, establish one as quickly as possible. It’s important for you to be able to open your own credit cards, apply for loans, and more.
  • If joint checking, saving, or credit card accounts exist, close them. Doing so will help prevent future arguments and help both of you get started on living independently.
  • Start thinking about your future living costs and arrangements, but do not move out. Leaving the marital home may feel like the natural thing to do, but doing so can be viewed as abandonment, and may have a substantial effect on your standing in a custody agreement or when it comes to equitable distribution.
  • Try to avoid bickering with your soon-to-be ex. As hard as it may be, remaining as cordial as possible will pay off in the end.

For help as you navigate this challenging time, contact our experienced divorce attorneys today to set up a time to talk.