5 Things to Take Care of Before Asking for a Divorce
A lot of people think about the battle that happens during a divorce – the digging in over who gets the house, the fighting across a mediator’s table, the accusations slung in court. But not many people realize that the battle begins even before you declare that you want a divorce. Circumstances that are in place just prior to your separation will have a big impact on the outcome of your divorce.
To ensure your chances of successfully getting the divorce settlement you want, there are a few things you need to do before you even let your spouse know that you are thinking of splitting up. Here are just five things you need to be sure to do before asking for a divorce:
1. Talk to a Divorce Attorney
An experienced divorce attorney is the best person to advise you on what to do for your divorce, from the nascent stages of “just thinking about it” to actually filing and then mediating it or litigating it. Talking to an attorney before you tell your spouse you want a divorce can help you properly prepare.
Your attorney will help you think through what you want and let you know how to go about getting it. Your attorney can draft some temporary paperwork you might need immediately, such as a protection order. Overall, talking to an attorney will help you prepare for what’s ahead and have a plan in place.
2. Save Everything You Can
Divorce is expensive. Just the initial consultation with the lawyer can cost several hundred dollars, depending on the attorney. Then you will have to prepare for living on your own with just one income. You may get spousal support or child support or you may not. Even if you do, it may take awhile for the issue to be settled and you to start getting payments.
Save as much as you can leading up to telling your spouse that you want a divorce. Just don’t do anything illegal like hide assets. You should also consider paying off debts or lowering your living expenses in other ways leading up to your divorce announcement.
3. Assess Your Finances
While you are saving, you should also be taking a good long hard look at your finances. Create a comprehensive budget for yourself as an individual and for what you spend as a couple. List out the accounts you want to keep, such as your retirement account or savings, and list out the accounts you are likely to be required to divide (all assets are considered marital property).
You should also list all assets that are in your spouse’s name, such as retirement accounts, investments, real estate, and vehicles. Then you should do the same thing for debts – both those in your spouse’s name and those in your name.
Finally, you will need to prepare for separating your finances. You may open an individual account before the divorce begins, and you should consider opening credit cards in your name that your spouse can’t access.
4. Clean Up Your Digital Presence
Your spouse likely has access to a lot of your online accounts, such as your email, social media, online calendar, and other websites. You don’t want your spouse to be able to access any of your personal accounts after the split, so you need to start changing these passwords before you announce your desire for a divorce. If your spouse checks any accounts regularly, you may want to consider waiting until the last minute to change the passwords so you don’t raise any suspicions.
5. Gather Paperwork
You are going to need to document a lot of things in your divorce.
You can start putting that paperwork together before you announce your desire for a divorce so that you don’t overlook things when the situation becomes more emotionally stressful. Collect bank and credit card statements, account numbers, investment information, tax returns, deeds, and anything else that shows your assets and debts. You should also collect information about medical coverage and insurance policies. Make copies of everything and have it ready to go.
Divorce is an emotionally taxing process. By talking to an attorney before you announce your desire to separate to your spouse, you can get a better idea of what to expect and what you should do, which can make the whole process a little easier. Doing this work ahead of time can also help you to stay focused when things get heated and you are battling your spouse on everything.
If you are thinking of getting a divorce, call My AZ Lawyers. Our experienced divorce attorneys can help you understand the process and give you critical advice about steps you can take now to eventually secure the settlement you desire. Call our office today to start talking to an experienced divorce attorney about your options.
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