6 Things to Do Before Filing for Divorce

When it comes to divorce, it's not just about ending a romantic relationship, it's an intricate and complex process. Apart from the emotional decision to leave your partner, there are several aspects that require your attention.

If you're considering filing for a divorce and don't know where to begin, it's important to start by preparing beforehand to protect yourself and your assets. Keep reading to learn about steps to take before filing for divorce in this post.

1. Be Certain You Want a Divorce

The decision to get divorced can be tough, but it's important to take the time to properly consider it. It shouldn't be a hasty choice made in the heat of the moment when emotions are running high. Before filing for divorce, make sure that this is truly what you want and that you've exhausted all other options, such as marital counseling, to try and save the relationship.

Going back on that decision after serving your spouse with divorce papers can be challenging, even if you've had a change of heart. Therefore, while it may seem obvious, be sure to take the time you need to be sure before making this life-changing decision.

2. Organize Your Financial Documents

When going through divorce settlement negotiations, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of your financial situation. To ensure a fair and equitable division of assets, start by identifying all of your marital assets, including the obvious ones like your home, financial accounts, and vehicles, as well as any not-so-obvious assets like artwork, pension plans, inheritances, or personal belongings. Equally important is determining what you owe, such as mortgages, loans, and credit card debt.

Examples of financial documents to have copies of include the following:

  • Income documentation such as pay stubs
  • Employment records
  • Banking information
  • Certificates of any stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
  • Retirement account statements
  • Income tax forms
  • Wills and trust agreements
  • Mortgages
  • Personal loans
  • Student loans

By taking the time to get a full picture of your finances upfront, you'll be better equipped to negotiate a settlement that makes sense for both parties.

Collect Proof of Income

Another essential aspect while organizing your financial documents is having proof of income. When filing for divorce, it's important to have documentation showing you and your spouse's income. If you and your spouse are salaried employees, recent pay stubs and income tax returns will suffice.

However, if you or your spouse are self-employed, determining income can be more complicated. In this situation, bank account and financial business statements will provide a clearer understanding of income. Make sure to gather as much information as possible, even if it's just an estimate. Having this information will be essential in determining financial support during and after the divorce process.

3. Set Your Post-Divorce Budget

Creating a post-divorce budget is crucial for your financial well-being. After a divorce, your income may significantly decrease, making it essential to know what your living expenses will be. To prepare yourself, start by estimating your monthly expenses in detail. Doing this will help you determine what your income requirements are for supporting yourself.

Steps to build your post-divorce budget may include:

  • Determine your income and expenses
  • Comparing your expenses
  • Cutting out expenses that you may determine to be unnecessary
  • Setting up your new budget

Additionally, having this information can give you negotiating power during your divorce settlement discussions. Knowing precisely what you need financially will help you evaluate your settlement options or present your case in court effectively. Don't wait until it's too late, ensure that you set your post-divorce budget and protect your financial future.

4. Be Sure You Have Available Credit

When going through a divorce, it may be beneficial for you to open your own bank account. It's essential to have quick access to funds in case your partner limits access to joint funds. While having a separate bank account isn't always a guarantee that your money will be protected, having some funds in a separate account can make a significant difference.

By having available credit, this will allow you to make necessary purchases and help you take care of yourself and any dependents during this challenging time.

5. Focus on Your Child

It is important to prioritize the well-being of your child or children through a divorce. By focusing on their needs and emotions, you can help reduce the impact of the separation on their lives. Planning how to divide parenting time with the other parent can also help create stability and routine for your children.

Ways to help your child through divorce can include:

  • Communicating honestly
  • Helping your child express their emotions
  • Reassuring them things will be okay
  • Keeping routines in your home

In addition, be sure to avoid involving them in any conflicts or asking them to take sides, as this can be emotionally damaging. While it can be challenging, taking these steps can help your children emerge from the divorce healthy and well-adjusted.

6. Work With a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be a complicated and emotional process, and while some couples may choose to go through it alone, it can quickly become overwhelming. Without a knowledgeable attorney by your side, you will not only have to represent yourself, but also navigate the intricacies of the legal system alone.

That's why it's important to consider hiring an experienced divorce attorney who can help define legal terminology, protect your best interests, and ensure that you are properly prepared with the right documentation. With unbiased advice and skilled representation, our divorce attorneys can help you move forward with confidence and peace of mind.

Contact Our Divorce Attorneys

Divorce can be a trying experience for all involved, and our lawyers understand just how stressful this time can be for our clients and their families. The emotional and social stakes, as well as the financial impact, can be incredibly difficult to navigate without the right support.

At the Law Office of Alexandra White, PC, our goal is to help our clients and their loved ones experience greater peace of mind during these difficult times. We're here to help guide you through every step of the process, so you can focus on moving forward and starting a new chapter in your life.

Contact our divorce attorneys today at (303) 647-4245 or fill out our form online to start.