Anyone who is considering ending their marriage should take steps in advance to prepare for divorce. Deciding to divorce is a major decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Instead, people should carefully consider whether they truly want to get divorced before filing petitions. If you are sure that you want to get a divorce, there are several things you should do to prepare.
Before you file a divorce petition
Before you file a divorce petition, you should do a number of things to make the process easier. It is a good idea for you to meet with a financial advisor to figure out how the divorce might impact your finances and your budget. The advisor you choose should not be one your spouse also uses. Instead, you should choose an advisor who will only have your best interests in mind instead of having divided loyalties.
Once you figure out your post-divorce budget and understand how a divorce might affect you, you should gather all of your financial documents. It is much easier to get copies of important financial documents before you tell your spouse that you want a divorce instead of waiting to try to get copies after you file. Gather the following documents:
- Income tax returns for three years
- Wage statements or pay stubs
- Current credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies
- Recent bank account statements, retirement account statements, savings account statements, investment account statements and all recent bill statements
- Deeds and titles
Taking steps to separate your credit from your spouse’s is also a good idea. If you have joint debts, try to get your name off them or repay them in full before filing for divorce if possible. Open a new bank account in your name alone, and change any direct deposits of your paycheck to that account.
Getting legal assistance
Finally, consulting with an experienced family law attorney before filing your petition might be a good idea. An attorney may provide guidance about how to navigate the process in the smoothest possible way to minimize potential conflict.