Reaching the decision to divorce is emotionally challenging. The decision will also mean many logistic challenges, including separating finances, dividing parenting time, and allocating marital assets and debts. After spending years building your future with your spouse, there can be a lot of difficult decisions and procedures ahead. Preparing properly for your divorce can help ease the process and reduce your stress.
The first step in preparation is to make a budget. Divorce will bring substantial financial changes for most families. Preparing a budget will allow you to get a more immediate handle on your finances and how to plan for your future. With an accurate budget, you can start to make plans for a new residence and how to handle any debts you may be apportioned in the divorce. In addition, you can start to known whether requesting spousal support may be necessary in your case.
Another important step is to gather your essential documents. These documents may include copies of statements for credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. Keep in mind that just because both spouse’s names are not on the account will not necessarily prevent that asset or debt from being divided in the divorce. If you are unable to find copies of all relevant documents, your attorney will be able to assist you in requiring your spouse to produce them in the future.
You can also help prepare for divorce by creating a list of your goals. Having a list will help you to focus on what is more important and not get bogged down in small details. It will help, for example, to remind you that your real goal is to retain the marital residence, and so allowing your spouse to keep the newer vehicle may be a trade-off worth making. Having the list of goals can also be helpful because you can start taking specific steps to help you achieve each of these goals. For example, if your goal is to be awarded spousal maintenance to help you get a new degree, you can start researching education programs and be able to provide a solid number to the court as to how much maintenance you will require.