It is difficult to face the fact that a marriage is coming to an end. If you have come to terms with the fact that the marriage cannot be reconciled, there are some basic ground rules for preparing for a divorce.
- Make an appointment to have a consultation with a reputable and well-qualified attorney. Choosing the right attorney at the beginning of the process is a key to success. This consultation will help you understand the process and the do’s and don’ts of going through a divorce.
- Hire an attorney. Representing yourself in Family Court is not a good idea. The judges will hold you to the same standard as the attorney representing your spouse, and the judges cannot give you legal advice. When you appear by yourself, you are far more likely to get a result that has terrible and possible long-term negative consequences.
- Do not broadcast your intentions to your spouse. There is nothing wrong with consulting with an attorney to educate yourself and better understand the process.
- Do not drop your spouse from insurance plans.
- Gather relevant financial information. A divorce means that you are going to separate and ultimately divide the marital assets, marital debt and personal property. You may start listing the items that you believe are marital assets and those items that you believe are marital debts. Getting copies of current mortgage payoffs, current joint credit card statements, current credit card statements in your name and balances of other joint debts is a good start. You may also get copies of deeds to real estate and titles to vehicles. Know where the banking and retirement and investment accounts are. If available, make copies of this information.
- Educate yourself on the household budget. Learn how you spend the household net (after tax) income. Write it out.
- Do not hack into your spouse’s private email accounts or any other private accounts. Doing so may put you at risk for being arrested and for being sued.
- Be careful what you post on social media sites. These posts may be used against you during the divorce. If in doubt, do not post it.
- Consider the ramifications the divorce may have on the children. Educate yourself on resources available through the community to help your children cope.
- Take care of yourself. Educate yourself on services available to help you to cope with any depression or anxiety that you are having. One example is faith-based divorce recovery groups. Other secular resources are also available including traditional counseling.
These tips will help you begin the process of divorce and help you work toward a successful resolution.
Blog post by attorney Allison Dunham. Click here to learn more about Allison.
The posts on this website/blog are published as a service to our clients and friends. They are intended to provide general information only and should not be construed to be formal legal advice regarding any specific situation and should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. Success in the past does not indicate the likelihood of success in any future representation.