As anyone who has been through it will tell you, divorce is never easy. Even the friendliest of divorces are by their nature stressful. There will be many decisions and changes to be made, both before and during the process.
Preparing yourself as much as possible for the most common issues that arise can help you successfully navigate your divorce while maintaining some sense of normalcy in your life.
Here are 7 must have divorce tips to keep in mind while going through a divorce.
1. CONSULT AN EXPERT
Divorcing is one of the most crucial decisions of your life and seeing expert advice at the beginning of the process can save you money in the long run because you are being proactive, not reactive. Consulting with a divorce attorney does not mean the same as retaining one.
Mistakes made early on can be very costly in terms of both child and spousal support as well as division of the marital assets.
2. KNOW YOUR INCOME
Gather documentation that shows both of your incomes. If either or both of you are salaried employees this is done through recent pay stubs or tax returns. If self-employed you’ll need bank and financial business statements.
Make copies before separating and filing, as obtaining this information later could be difficult.
3. KNOW YOUR JOINT EXPENSES
With expenses, most marital debt tends to be split based on who is more financially able to pay, not whose name it is in. While not always the case, be prepared by obtaining statements on all open credit accounts and, again, make copies.
4. PREPARE A BUDGET
Living as one is very different and usually more expensive than living as a couple. The good news is you’re well aware of what it takes to run a household. Preparing a budget pre-divorce will help you see what you need to survive in your new life.
Determining ahead of time what your cost of living will be will benefit you enormously when it comes to negotiating your divorce settlement or asking the court for financial determinations.
5. CLOSE JOINT CREDIT ACCOUNTS
If it’s at all possible, pay off and close all joint credit accounts (excluding your mortgage) prior to separation. If it’s not possible to pay them off in full, have the accounts frozen and continue to make payments. Contact creditors to let them know you are going through a divorce and whether you are changing your address. It’s important that you continue to receive copies of all joint bills. If you don’t already do so, have your accounts accessible online.
Even in the best of circumstances divorce proceedings can take a long time and one missed or late payment can affect your credit.
6. STAY OR GO?
If one party is thinking of or needs to move out of the house, do not make a move without first discussing this decision with an attorney. In some cases, such as abuse, it is for the best, but not taking the proper steps beforehand can have negative consequences down the road.
Issues that need to be addressed before one party moves out include who will pay the mortgage and related household expenses and, if there are children, with whom they will stay. If one party moves out, document everything to avoid conflict later on.
7. MAINTAIN CIVILITY
The divorce process has the potential to bring out anyone’s worst behavior. Try to maintain a level of respect with each other and keep your emotions under control. Easier said than done sometimes, but the benefits to your health and sanity demand it.
Finally, if there are children, remember to keep their world as stable as possible and never speak in derogatory terms of the other parent.
Even with a number of divorce tips it is never easy, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself. Knowing what to expect and how to handle situations can keep minimize stress levels. Minella Law Group can help ease the burdens and unknown variables involved in the process, let us complete the work for you.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us at 619-289-7948. We look forward to helping you.