Divorce should be thought of as a process and not a single legal act. What you do before you serve the paperwork can have a huge influence on how your divorce turns out, with preparation being all-important. Take a look at the below tasks and go forward feeling confident, informed, and prepared.
Check and Make Sure That You Are Really Ready for Divorce
Ending a marriage can cause a lot of emotional pain. Unfortunately, people can be affected so strongly by emotions that they file for divorce and then regret it. Once your spouse has been served with divorce papers, it can be difficult to change your mind without causing lasting damage to a marriage that could have been saved. Take your time when making this decision and seek marriage counseling before you move on to the next item on the list.
Check Out a Few Divorce Attorneys
It's understandable to place a priority on a friend's recommendation, but you should interview several divorce lawyers before you choose one. Attorneys are available at every price point, and some are more skilled in complicated divorces than others. There are also specific types of divorce attorneys to consider, like collaborative divorce attorneys. You should feel comfortable with this attorney and have a good rapport with them.
Check Your Filing Cabinet
Most of what your attorney will need to form your divorce is in your financial documents. If you and your spouse have shared files and documents, be sure to make your own copies and do so as soon as possible. The more financial documents you can procure ahead of time, the easier it will be later on. Focus on getting financial paperwork like
- Mortgages and real estate deeds
- Vehicles titles and loans
- Banking, retirement, and investment information
If your spouse prevents you from accessing necessary financial information in the future, you might be faced with subpoenas and the expense of a forensic accountant.
Check on Some Parenting Plans
Having the right custody and visitation plan can pave the way for a much smoother post-divorce life. Sit down with your spouse and decide on how you want to share parenting duties going forward. Unless your spouse is obviously unfit to parent and you can prove it, joint or shared parenting plans are your most likely choice. Take a realistic look at your work schedules and your child's schedules and create a plan that works with all of that.
When you've taken the above steps and chose an attorney, you can move into the separation phase of the divorce process. If you have questions about any of the above, speak to a divorce attorney.