We regularly emphasize that no one should go into a divorce unprepared, both emotionally and strategically. Because divorce involves deciding on a particular future for your children, dividing the marital estate and determining what support would be necessary to meet expenses, it is critical that you know certain key facts before you meet with an attorney.
First, do a full financial inventory. Obtain copies of your bank statements, mortgage statements, retirement account statements, and credit card bills. Begin writing down all of the key items of property you wish to retain and their values.
Second, run a credit check. When you divorce, you will have to start over in terms of building your own credit. Before you do that, you need to see where your credit rating stands and you might discover accounts that your spouse opened without your knowledge.
Third, get a separate bank account and new credit cards. To build up credit, you will need cards in your name only. Also, at a certain point, you will need your own bank account that your spouse cannot access. If you do not already have such an account, you will want to have that ready.
Fourth, begin a journal. You want to be able to document all aspects of your family life that might impact your divorce. It can be issues related to the children, problems with your spouse, suspicions, strange financial transactions. Having a daily journal of your life will be a great asset to you and your attorney as you move through the divorce.
Fifth, deal with the emotional aspects proactively. It is important that you keep a cool head through the divorce and not make decisions based on reactions to how you feel about your spouse. To get to a good mental space, consider utilizing a therapist. Divorce challenges even the most stable of individuals; do not be afraid to seek help. Further, if you need to learn how to handle parenting issues during this difficult time, an experienced therapist will have the techniques you need to know.
If you follow these five steps, you will be well on your way to being fully prepared for the divorce process.
If you have questions about divorce, contact us – we can help.