If you are considering divorce, chances are you have been contemplating it for some time. Divorce is an extremely difficult decision, and people that arrive at it have often exhausted all other possibilities. If you believe that divorce is in your future, it is important to do everything you can to help prepare yourself for the process. Being prepared can help you and your spouse communicate more effectively and can actually save you time and money throughout the divorce process. It can also help you cut down on stress so that you can focus more of your energy on managing other emotions that certain to accompany the divorce process more effectively.
Make Copies and Organize
The divorce process can be complex, but preparing for it can help reduce stress. One way to start preparing is to make copies of all your important financial documents, including both joint and individual assets. This may include mortgage paperwork, car loan documents, credit card statements, joint account statements, and pertinent tax information. By making these copies and organizing them effectively, you can have them ready when your attorney or a Florida court needs them. Doing this may also help you discover if your spouse is attempting to hide any assets during the divorce process. The divorce process often necessitates the inclusion of private financial information, so it is important to be thorough and accurate in preparing it.
Understand Your Budget
It is important that you understand your monthly budget. Writing it out will help you understand your current financial state and may also help you and your lawyer make some educated guesses about how a divorce could impact you financially. Additionally, if you or your spouse is planning on moving out once the divorce process begins, understanding your monthly budget can help you anticipate what you will be able to afford when income is potentially reduced by half.
Understand Your Credit
Keeping up with your credit is an important part of financial planning as an adult. However, facing divorce makes it even more important. Once you understand your budget, you can start trying to anticipate your needs during the divorce process and after a divorce is finalized. If you need to sign a new lease or mortgage, or if you need to make a major purchase like an automobile, being aware of your credit score can help you correct any potential errors as well as make informed decisions about financial matters.
Determine Your Earning Potential
If you are currently employed in a position that you plan to stay in, it is much easier to plan for your post-divorce financial future. If you are not, it is important to assess your earning potential. By determining your skills and qualifications, as well as positions you might be interested in, you can research how much such positions might pay in your area. This will give you an idea of what you could be earning after divorce, which will help make your financial picture clearer for you and for those involved in the divorce process.
Know Your Spouse’s Budget
As much as possible, staying informed about your spouse’s monthly budget is also an important part of the financial analysis involved in a divorce. Not only does understanding how much money your spouse makes help make it easier for your lawyer to investigate whether or not a spouse may be hiding assets, but it helps you have a more informed picture of what financial position your spouse will be in after divorce. That can help you make informed decisions about issues like child support and alimony, and preparing documentation like copies of paystubs and such will help you prove earnings should you be in a position where doing so is necessary.
Plan for Marital and Personal Debts
Understanding what you owe as an individual is an important part of budgeting. It is also important to understand what debt you might be liable for from your marriage and/or your spouse. This could include things like monthly mortgage payments that could still be due if selling the house does not happen as quickly as planned or it could include joint credit cards that only your spouse uses on a regular basis. By determining the amount you owe, you can make informed decisions about how to pay down that debt especially when it is combined with potentially shared marital debt. Unfortunately, some things may qualify as marital debt and you may be liable for them even if you did not incur the debt. Having a clear picture of debt, including potential debt, as well as how such debt may be treated can help you plan for your financial future more successfully and with fewer surprises throughout the process.
Children Must Come First
If you have children in your marriage, you must remember to make their needs paramount. Make sure to have a plan with your spouse about how to talk to your kids about divorce as well as how to address any issues that might arise. Florida courts take the best interests of children extremely seriously, both during and after a divorce. Ensuring that you and your spouse are meeting your children’s needs is not only a good parenting decision, but can also help expedite the divorce process in the courts. If you begin to use children as bargaining chips, begin blaming a spouse for the demise of a marriage, or neglect children’s needs, Florida courts may also use that information in making custody and visitation determinations.
Consult a Family Law Attorney Focusing on Divorce
If you needed cardiovascular surgery, you probably would not go to a neurologist. That is not to say that a neurologist is not knowledgeable or even that they could not perform an operation on your heart, but it is important to work with an individual that has chosen to focus on your particular area of concern. The same might be said about attorneys. It is important to choose a Florida family law attorney that focuses their practice on divorce and related issues so that you can best understand your various rights as well as what the divorce process entails.
If you have made the difficult decision to pursue divorce or if you have questions related to the Florida divorce process, contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about how divorce might impact you as well as what steps you can take to make sure you are prepared for the divorce process and that your rights are protected throughout it.