Divorce is a difficult, emotional, and stressful process for many people. Deciding that divorce is necessary takes a lot of strength, but that is only the first step to making separation a reality. Many couples who have decided to get divorced may wonder what steps they should take to prepare for the process. Although every couple is in a different situation, here are some tips that most people planning to divorce can use to prepare for the process and make it as smooth as possible.
Collect Financial and Personal Documentation
Part of the divorce process may include proving who owns which assets to the courts. Gathering all of the relevant and necessary documentation is a tangible and helpful step anyone planning to divorce can take. Documents that should be collected include bank account statements, debt statements, all forms related to tax returns, and documents that prove income (pay stubs, health insurance statements). Most divorces will be subject to a financial disclosure to ensure that finances are divided equitably and to make decisions regarding child support and alimony.
It is also beneficial for each party in a divorce to collect evidence they believe would be useful in proving their case to the courts. Text messages, voicemails, and other interactions can be beneficial in proving spousal abuse or irreconcilable differences. Collecting these documents and having them at the ready may seem like a lot to do at the beginning of a divorce, but it will be beneficial to attorneys and the court in the long run.
Each party in a divorce should also ensure they have all of their personally identifying legal documentation in their possession, such as social security cards and birth certificates. This includes end-of-life plans such as wills, powers of attorney, and health care directives. It also includes insurance policies such as their homeowner’s, auto, life, and identity theft.
Divorce results in significant life changes, and many people consider it a fresh start for their lives. It is important for anyone getting divorced to determine what their priorities are, at least in a general sense, before their divorce begins. Understanding which outcomes are the most important can help a divorcing person as well as their legal team determine which elements of the divorce to focus their efforts on.
For example, someone may decide that they want to become the sole owner of a home that is jointly owned by both parties. However, once they realize that may create intense conflict during the divorce process, they may decide they would rather focus on remaining financially stable. Determining priorities is especially important for divorcing couples who share children. A custody arrangement is likely to come once a divorce is underway, and parents need to decide what sort of parenting schedule is important to them.
Create a Support System
It is a difficult and emotionally draining process to get divorced. There can be many questions, concerns, and frustrations throughout. It is important for anyone getting divorced to ensure they have a good support system around them while the divorce is underway. This support system can include people, such as good friends, and even professionals, such as therapists and counselors. A support system also includes healthy self-care methods and activities.
Any couple getting a divorce who share children need to consider a similar support system for their children. Although divorce is taxing for the couple that is separating, it can be especially difficult for their children. A child’s support system can include their parents, their teachers, counselors at their schools, and therapists parents decide to hire to help their children process the divorce.
Research Is Key
Anyone about to enter divorce proceedings should do some research about the process, alternative avenues such as dissolution, and the potential costs involved. An experienced divorce attorney can help a client become familiar with how divorce works, but only the person going through the divorce can make final decisions. Knowledge is power, and research has the potential to provide a person with peace of mind. It also gives them an idea of the questions they have for their attorneys, as well as the questions their attorney might have for them.
Have a Backup Plan
Some people who are getting divorced can do so amicably and choose to continue living together while going through the process, in part for their children. However, some couples get divorced in a much more tense manner. Some divorces begin amicably and turn nasty later on. Therefore, anyone getting divorced needs to have backup plans.
It is important for anyone initiating a divorce to ensure they have somewhere to go if the news is not received well by their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Planning in a proactive manner for potential ramifications that can take place immediately upon initiating a divorce can save stress and worry if they do occur. For example, a court may order one spouse to leave the marital home while the divorce is ongoing.
Make Appropriate Updates
When a couple decides to get divorced, it is important for each party to make the appropriate updates to their legal documentation. One example is insurance. If someone getting a divorce has their spouse listed as a beneficiary on their life insurance, they should change it as soon as possible, especially if they are on bad terms with their spouse. This will ensure the payout will go to the appropriate people, such as their children or family.
It is also important for anyone getting divorced to remove a soon-to-be ex from their car insurance, or to ensure their car is insured in their name only. An ex may damage a vehicle out of retaliation or wreck the car during the divorce process, and a person could become liable for that damage.
Divorcing couples should also consider identity theft protection. This is especially important in the case of a divorce caused by serious fights. An ex may try to ruin the credit of the person their divorcing in retaliation, and identity theft protection can hold them liable.
We Can Help
The Law Office of Nicholas T. Exazrhakis is ready to help you plan for and execute a simple and stress-free divorce. No one should have to navigate through the complex divorce process on their own. Our experienced divorce attorney understands that this is a difficult time in your life. That is why our main goal is to provide you with practical solutions and compassionate representation. Contact us today at (410) 593-0040 or through our online form to schedule a consultation.