You and your partner have drifted apart, your spouse cheated, or you feel that there are too many irreconcilable differences. You feel like your marriage has fallen apart. Whatever the case may be, if you find yourself considering a divorce, here are some valuable tips to financially and emotionally prepare for divorce.
Conduct an honest self-assessment.
Take a step back for a moment and consider whether the issues you and your spouse are facing can be resolved. Consider taking time apart to reassess the relationship and the steps each of you is willing, or not willing, to take to save the marriage.
Are you willing to try marital counseling? Can you accept that you may have contributed to the circumstances? Is there a path for moving forward? If, after thoughtful reflection, you decide to continue with a divorce, start by consulting an experienced divorce attorney.
Consult with a family attorney.
Family law is a highly specialized industry because the procedures differ from other areas of law, such as personal injury and criminal defense. Speak with an attorney knowledgeable about the law governing divorce and special family court rules. It's okay to meet with several attorneys to ensure you make the best choice for your case. The Attorney-Client relationship is personal, and it is essential to trust the firm handling your case. Write down any questions you have in preparation for a consultation appointment, then begin preparing documents your attorney may need.
Avoid discussions and comments regarding the proceedings on social media and messaging platforms.
Divorce will bring you through a rollercoaster of emotions, and you may feel like you need to defend yourself to family and friends or tell your side of the story. However, any posts, comments, and messages may be used against you in court. It's best to remain quiet about the proceedings on public platforms and messaging apps to maintain the best appearance in court.
Be honest with your divorce attorney and give them all of the information.
Trust is an essential part of the Attorney-Client relationship. Attorney-Client privilege ensures that confidential communications between you and your attorneys are kept private.
You must help your attorney prepare for any allegation or issue by being honest and forthcoming. Before meeting with an attorney, consider taking the following steps to ensure they have all the information required to represent you to the best of their ability. Walking into a meeting with your attorney empty-handed could result in unnecessary costs.
Organize your financial documents.
Having tax filings, pay stubs, and other financial documents ahead of time may allow your attorney to develop a strategy during the consultation. Important documents include copies of all financial statements/records such as:
- Most recent federal and state tax returns
- pay stubs
- bank accounts statements
- brokerage accounts statements
- credit card statements
- insurance policies
- retirement accounts
- mortgage statements
- car loan statements
Make a list of assets and debts.
Information about any loans you have together, such as a mortgage or credit card, will be helpful. Create an itemized list of any outstanding, unsecured debts, including credit cards, medical bills, and other loans in your or your spouse's name.
Gather documents related to the automobiles you or your spouse own or finance. These include the title or registration to all vehicles owned by you or your spouse individually or jointly, including but not limited to automobiles, boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, and farm equipment. Also include documents demonstrating the current outstanding secured debt on the vehicles, including payment coupons, amortization schedules, or monthly invoices.
Create a marital budget to get an understanding of what your current monthly expenses living together are as well as what your projected monthly expenses will be after you're divorced and living in separate households.
Locate marriage documents such as prenuptial or postnuptial agreements and your marriage license.
Obtain life insurance policy information, if applicable. Gather statements regarding life insurance policies on your life, your spouse's life, or your children, whether it is an individual policy or a policy through your employer. This includes any documents indicating a cash balance or loans against the guidelines.
Divorce can be costly and stressful, but the right attorney can make the process much easier for you. You must focus on your physical, mental, and emotional health during a divorce. Let an experienced attorney do the hard work for you. Divorce attorneys navigate the legal system and work towards a favorable outcome. You are not alone in this process.
Here at The Ambeau Law Firm, we understand life's challenges. If you have been considering a divorce, or have questions about the legal process, give us a call! We offer free consultations and are happy to sit with you to discuss any questions.