7 Things You Should do to Prepare for Divorce

Welcome to the Reese-Beisbier and Associates Family law blog. Here you will find general information and updates on various family law topics. Remember that anything written in this blog should not be taken as legal advice and that every situation is different, so we highly recommend consulting an attorney, even if it’s not us!

Yesterday, the firm went back to school shopping for a great cause. The United Way is having a “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive and the firm participated in a big way.

Helping others prepare to go back to school, I began thinking about how important it is for our clients to prepare for divorce. Realizing that your relationship is headed towards divorce can be a shocking and difficult thing to understand. However, if you prepare for divorce by doing these 7 things you can save money, time, and, potentially a lot of heartache.

1.   Do you really want a divorce?

Some of you may be thinking, “Of course I want a divorce that’s why I am here!” However, stop and think for a minute if that’s really true. You may want to consider marriage counseling, or some other form of therapy.  If it doesn’t work, you haven’t lost anything, and if it does, you may have saved a good marriage.

2.   Consult a Family law attorney.

At this point you do not have to retain an attorney however; you should at least consult with a family law attorney so that you may get specific advice on your situation. Many clients make poor decisions before they walk in our door. Don’t be that client! You can always retain an attorney at a later date, but mistakes made early in a divorce case can be costly in terms of child custody and support arrangements.

3.   Don’t involve the children.

This can’t be stressed enough; don’t put your kids in between you and your spouse.  Do not disparage your spouse in front of the kids. Show the kids that they are what are most important to you and your spouse, and make sure that their lives stay as unchanged as possible as everyone experiences this difficult situation.

4.    Begin gathering and copying documents.

Once you’ve decided to end the marriage, start making copies of tax returns, bank statements, car loan information, mortgage information and any retirement accounts you or your spouse may possess. If you can provide these to your attorney, you save time and money. This also gives your attorney a better idea of what you can reasonably expect to get in a settlement or trial.

5.   Know your Household expenses.

This section goes along with number 4, know where the money goes in your home. If your spouse always did the finances, get copies of the records. Know what your spouse makes in salary and benefits. Know your spouse’s retirement plans and accounts. Having this information is extremely beneficial when creating the documents incidental to a divorce.  Also, obtain your credit report. This is very useful especially if it turns out your spouse has created accounts in your name without your knowledge. It does happen!

6.    Look around your house.

Inventory the major items in your home. As the divorce proceeds you may need to split furniture and other items with your spouse, make sure you know what’s in the home, so that you can get a fair share when it comes to dividing those items.

7.    Keep your head up.

Divorce is a tough time for anyone, don’t shoulder the burden alone. You’re not a bad person, and ending a marriage is not something to be ashamed of. Find and see a counselor. Many clients have reported to us that seeing a counselor reduced their stress level concerning the divorce considerably.  Remember that your friends will be there to help and support you through this ordeal.

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