3 Things To Do Before You File For Divorce

Law Blog

Once you've made your mind up that you want a divorce, you may be in a hurry to get started. However, as long as you and your children are safe where you are, it's in your best interest to take some time before you file. During that time, you can take steps to make sure that you're as prepared for the coming divorce as you can be. Take a look at several important things that you should do before you formally file for divorce.

Learn As Much As Possible About Your Financial Status

It's more common than you might think for one – or even both – spouses to not fully understand their complete marital financial status. That could be because one spouse handles all the finances for both, or because each spouse handles their own finances separately. It also happens that sometimes one spouse hides income, assets, or debts from the other.

A full accounting of your assets will help your divorce lawyer figure out what to ask for in the divorce settlement, and give you an idea of what life after the divorce might look like. Look for bank records, recent pay stubs, tax returns, deeds, account statements, applications for credit, and anything else that might remotely be part of the overall financial picture. Make copies of everything, and store them in a safe place.

Save Up Some Cash

No matter what your financial situation looks like on paper, you'll need to have some cash reserves just in case, especially if you and your spouse usually draw from a joint account. Take the time to stockpile some cash in case of emergency.

How much money you should save up depends partly on your regular living expenses, but you'll also want to put aside money for a lawyer if you don't have one on retainer already. Attorney's fees for a divorce can cost a flat fee of between $10,000 and $50,000, or even more if the case is complicated and your attorney charges by the hour. You may not need to pay the entire amount up front, especially if you expect a settlement at the end, but you will need some money to get started.

Explore Your Options

There's more than one way to get a divorce. No-fault divorces are common, but fault divorces are still available in some cases, and filing for a fault divorce can be advantageous if you want to speed up the divorce process. On the other side of the spectrum, mediated divorces can help create a more amicable split and make it easier to come to a mutually agreeable settlement.

Don't file for divorce before you know all of your options. You can't completely control how fast your divorce will move or how amicable or acrimonious the split will be – a lot of that is dependent on your spouse's response – but you can set goals for your divorce and make decisions that will help get you closer to meeting those goals.

Of course, the most important thing that you can do before you file for divorce is to hire a good divorce attorney. You need legal advice you can trust to help get you through the divorce process. Make sure that you hire an experienced attorney and follow their advice. For more information, check out a website like http://gomezmaylaw.com/.


15 May 2017