Five Steps Before Filing Divorce

By: Nathan Dawson

Getting a divorce can be stressful and full of situations that are tremendously challenging. Without having some kind of divorce support, it becomes tempting to avoid dealing with it altogether, leaving the prospect of staying in an unhappy marriage as a festering thought in the back of both of your minds.

Then the inevitable moment arrives when, as difficult as it may seem, it is obvious to the both of you that there is simply no other viable choice. So, where do you begin?

Consult an experienced divorce attorney. Informing yourself of your legal rights and options is perhaps the most important step. A good attorney will give you useful divorce information and sound divorce advice that is specific to your situation. Consulting an attorney for divorce help early on will save you from making costly mistakes in the long run. Make photocopies of all your legal documents. You will need to have all your documents during the discovery procedures. The sooner you get copies, the sooner your attorney can proceed with determining how much in alimony and child support, if anything, your spouse will owe. Copy the following:

  • Tax returns
  • Evidence of your spouse’s earnings
  • Bank statements and check registers
  • Retirement and investment account statements
  • Life insurance policies
  • Social security statements
  • Mortgage documents and automobile titles
  • Financial statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Wills and living trusts
Know your family’s budget and expenses. Look through your check register and become familiar with your monthly cash expenditure. This information will be crucial in making a realistic assessment of what it will take for you to start over, financially. Yes, there is life after divorce… so plan ahead.

Consult with an experienced divorce financial planner. You will need to decide on a winning debt-management strategy. Consider paying down the debt before your divorce to help make things easier afterward, regardless of what the divorce settlement is. Also, take a good look at your credit history. Do as much as you can to improve your credit rating before your divorce is final.

Take an inventory of your possessions. This task may seem daunting at first. Just start with one major thing at a time including cars, furniture, appliances and jewelry, then work down to the minor stuff. This can be the more tedious aspect of what may be an otherwise easy divorce.

About the Author
Nathan Dawson writes for a great online source for finance information.