With about one half of all once happy marriages ending in divorce today, there are no guarantees of a happily ever after. The emotional, financial, and relationship scars left by a bitter divorce can take years to heal. That’s why it’s so important to take steps to prepare properly once divorce becomes inevitable in order to come out the other side feeling relieved and ready to move on with your life.
Find a Good Attorney
Too many people make the mistake of thinking that a quality divorce or family law attorney is out of their price range and try to do everything on their own, instead. The truth is, you can find a top divorce attorney that won’t break the bank. An experienced divorce lawyer will help you with everything from filing legal documents, filling out complicated paperwork to communicating with a difficult estranged spouse, depending on your needs and the type of divorce.
Gather Your Financial Information
Often, one party in a marriage handles all of the financial responsibility for the household. This system works well in a marriage, but can wreak havoc on the divorce process, especially if things like alimony or child support will be an issue later on. If you wait for your attorney to have to discover every single scrap of information, the time and cost of your divorce is liable to go through the roof.
Try to collect as much information as you can and make copies of everything from loan applications and rent receipts to tax information, W-2s, 1099s, bank statements, and credit reports. The more information you have, the better. Now would also be a good time to begin closing your joint accounts and opening your own, individual retirement, checking, and savings accounts.
Talk to Each Other
During the tense weeks leading up to the signing of separation or divorce papers, the very last thing you may want to do is have a civil conversation with your estranged spouse. But if it’s at all possible, sit down with them and discuss the best possible route to take. There are several types of divorce, and being on the same page about things up front can help avoid headaches down the road. Likewise, knowing ahead of time the areas where you disagree; be that visitation schedules or asset allocation. Preparing prior to separation will assist in creating a guideline when you speak to your attorney.