Amid the whirlwind of emotions, stress, and anxiety that accompany divorce proceedings, there are actual legal steps you must take in order to safely bring your case all the way to court.
If you have already made the decision to divorce, and your spouse agrees, you have several steps to take before your final appearance in court. Here are a few things you should do before filing for divorce.
1. Understand the Legal Process
Before filing for divorce, it’s important to understand the legal process. Read up on the rules and regulations related to divorce in your state. This will help you become familiar with the legal requirements that must be met before filing.
Make sure to understand any financial implications. Including what types of assets may be divided and how much alimony you may owe or receive. Research any legal assistance available to you. Look into free or low-cost legal clinics or counseling services that may be able to provide support and legal advice.
2. Consider Marriage Counseling
Before filing for divorce, consider marriage counseling. Marriage counseling can help couples explore difficult topics, address underlying issues, and understand each other better.
Many relationships can benefit from professional help, especially if couples are more invested in repairing the relationship than splitting up. It can also help couples move forward without guilt or resentment and create a healthier, more respectful relationship with one another, especially if you’re divorcing a narcissist.
3. Gather Documentation
Before filing for a divorce, one important thing you should do is gather documentation. This includes all types of financial records, such as:
- bank statements
- mortgage lenders
- credit card statements
- tax returns
In addition, you should also collect records related to any joint debts, such as car loans and joint accounts. Other documents to gather include real estate deeds and titles, insurance policies, and any investments or retirement accounts. You should also make a list of all shared properties.
Finally, if you have children, school records and any shared custody paperwork should be gathered as well.
4. Plan for Financial Changes
Before filing for divorce, it is important to plan for financial changes. As soon as possible, both spouses should obtain their own credit reports. These can be useful in determining if one spouse has accrued debt without the other’s knowledge.
Additionally, each spouse should create a budget to get an idea of what expenses need to be taken care of post-divorce. It is important to start making a savings plan for these expenses. Lastly, both spouses should set up separate bank accounts in order to avoid potential confusion.
5. Secure Legal Representation
Before filing for divorce, it is important to secure legal representation to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. An attorney can help identify potential issues that may arise throughout the decision-making process.
An attorney can also provide advice on how to reach an amicable agreement with your spouse, negotiate alimony and child support, and complete the required paperwork correctly.
Take the time to find the right attorney for your situation. Research the lawyer’s credentials, experience, and areas of practice to ensure that the lawyer can support you effectively.
Do These Things Before Filing for Divorce
Divorce can be a difficult process. However, consulting with a divorce lawyer and having a clear divorce plan can make the process smoother and more successful for everyone involved. Speak with an experienced divorce lawyer today to discuss the options and start the process.
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