For many people, heated thinking and heightened emotions have a way of clouding rational thinking when it comes to planning for divorce, causing many to jump into the deep end of the process without being prepared. But the truth is, there are negative consequences to making any major life decision–divorce included—rashly. Failing to make the right preparations and decisions ahead of time can lead to many more years of emotional, financial, and lifestyle devastation if you’re not careful. Here’s a look at some steps to take if you foresee your marriage leading towards a divorce.
Start with an Experienced Attorney
Far too many people make the mistake of thinking they don’t need (or can’t afford) a divorce lawyer. You can find affordable family law firms with experience in every type of divorce situation. Doing so will make the entire process easier on everyone involved.
Of course, if you and your spouse can settle things without litigation through a collaborative divorce process, you’ll both save time and money. But even in this type of situation, a lawyer will facilitate the filing of all the necessary paperwork and expedite the process. If the need for court litigation occurs, you’ll want someone in your corner with years of experience.
Gather All of Your Financial Information
It’s not uncommon during a marriage for one person to be in charge of the finances for the entire household. Often, this system just works out better in a couple’s dynamic, but can be troublesome when trying to get a clear picture of where you and your spouse stand financially at the time of a divorce. In order to equitably distribute the assets from a marriage, however, it’s essential that a judge have a clear picture of property ownership.
Therefore, it’s important that you gather as much financial information as possible prior to filing for divorce. This includes the obvious assets and debts like homes, cars, bank accounts, loans and pension plans; as well as the less obvious ones like artwork, inheritances, assets, and belongings brought into the marriage as individuals.
It’s essential that you gather as much of your financial information as you can now, before you file for divorce. This includes bank statements, credit reports, W2s, 1099s, tax returns and any other documents that provide a clear picture of you and your spouse’s financial situation.
Take the Moral High Road
Whether you decide to move out right away or stay in the marital home until the divorce is final, one of the biggest mistakes people going through a divorce make–especially those with children and fighting for child custody–is expressing their hurt and anger with juvenile behavior. Focus on being a good parent and being civil to one another, even if you would rather not be.