A divorce is a major life event, and you should prepare for it thoroughly. You cannot suddenly announce you are filing for a divorce in the middle of a heated argument with your spouse and expect things to go smoothly. While there is no ideal way to divorce, you can make the process easier with a lot of planning and forethought.
A divorce encompasses so many elements. There is asset division to consider, as well as alimony. If there are children involved, you will need to think about child support and custody. The longer you have been married, the more assets you have likely accumulated, which means the process becomes more complicated. There may be financial accounts you forgot even existed.
That is why you need to be organized and prepared before you make the decision to end your marriage. There is a lot you need to concern yourself with, from organizing paperwork to discussing the situation with your spouse to saving up money to hiring a lawyer. There are a lot of steps involved to get out of an unhappy marriage. It is a lengthy and costly process, so you cannot expect quick results. Plus, one mistake can delay the whole thing
That is why it is helpful to have a checklist on hand so you know what you need to do as you embark on the preparations for your divorce. Here is a list of steps to take.
Start Saving Money
Before you even discuss the possibility of divorce with your spouse, you need to have some savings. Divorce can be expensive, with the average divorce costing $15,000. Some cost much more. You may be able to save money if you and your spouse can agree to an uncontested divorce. This would help you save money on attorney fees. Still, it is a good idea to have some money saved up or at least have the ability to borrow from family and friends so you can keep the divorce process running smoothly.
Get Paperwork in Order
Divorce consists of a ton of paperwork, so you need to make sure it is in order. This includes bank accounts, loan documents, titles and deeds to cars and homes, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts. You will want to include evidence of your debts, such as car loans and credit card debt, as these will all need to be split in the divorce.
Discuss With Your Spouse
This will probably be one of the hardest steps. In some cases, both spouses are on the same page and had an idea that a divorce was imminent. However, with women initiating divorce most of the time, men are often blindsided when they hear the divorce announcement. They tend to think that their marriage is a happy one with few problems, but that is hardly ever the case. Therefore, you should expect that your spouse may be angry upon hearing the news that you want a divorce. They may beg you to stay. If you are adamant about wanting a divorce, then stick to your guns. If things get too escalated, then be prepared to leave.
Think About Living Arrangements
You and your spouse will not be able to live together after the divorce, so you need to think about where you want to live. Many people want to keep the marital home, but that is not always feasible. You would need to refinance it in your name, plus split it with your spouse. This could cost a lot more than you expected. It is often more realistic to downsize, at least for a few years until you can save up money for a better home. For now, you may want to consider an apartment or smaller house. Some people even move in with family members, such as parents and siblings. Consider your budget when deciding on your future home.
Get a P.O. Box
If you are moving out, you no longer want to have mail sent to your home. This is because your spouse could intercept it and keep you from receiving it. You could miss out on paperwork from lawyers and other important pieces of mail. Prevent sabotage by getting a post office box at your local post office. Only you will have access to it, so you can ensure that the letters you receive are kept private and secure.
Talk to the Kids
A divorce is much easier when there are no minor children involved. If there are kids involved, though, be prepared to discuss the divorce with them. They will likely have questions about where they live and attend school, so be prepared with answers. It is best if you come to an agreement with your spouse ahead of time on topics such as child support, child custody and visitation.
Hire an Attorney
This step may come earlier in the process. Some people hire one right away, while others will wait until they have the paperwork and money to proceed. In any case, you should hire a lawyer for your divorce, no matter how easy the process may seem. Issues can crop up during the process. Your spouse may decide to argue with you over an asset. There may suddenly be issues about child custody. With a lawyer on your side, you can understand the laws and your rights so you can put yourself in the best position.
Seek Legal Help
A successful divorce does not just happen overnight. You need to plan for it, and with the right amount of organization, you can avoid costly mistakes.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler has the experience to guide you through the process. He can help you understand the steps involved and make sure you are prepared for your divorce. Schedule a consultation today. Fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464.