It’s very easy to let emotions get in the way during a divorce, which will only complicate things and get in the way of rational thinking. After all, oftentimes the decision to divorce in the first place is based on negative emotions.
It’s important that you try to maintain a clear head as best you can and go about the divorce proceedings logically. With that said, here are the top 4 things that you must do before filing a divorce:
1) Interview Divorce Attorneys
This is a step to take very seriously. If you were having work done to your home, you wouldn’t want to just hire the first contractor that came your way. Finding a divorce attorney should be no different.
Do not just hire the first divorce attorney you find. Instead, try to find at least three or four different divorce attorneys who you can interview before you select one. Each attorney you interview should have a minimum of five years experience in family and divorce law.
2) Gather Appropriate Financial Documentation
You will also need to spend a fair amount of time gathering all of the appropriate financial documentation as well. Specifically, you will need to really focus on gathering documentation that proves the income of you and the income of your spouse. You’ll need tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements, financial business statements, and any documentation you have on your home mortgage, car payments, payments on other vehicles, and so on.
Let’s put it this way: if a document has anything to do with your finances or your income, it’s probably something that the court is going to need to see, so gather it in your collection. Once you gather all of this documentation, your attorney can help you sort through it.
If you need help with what paperwork to gather, you can grab your FREE copy of our Divorce Financial Documents Checklist below:
3) Figure Out Your Post-Divorce Budget
A divorce is without question one of the worst times to spend a lot of money and incur new debt. That’s why setting a post-divorce budget is so important, and getting ready to live on your own with only your income and not your spouse’s income. Do your best to find little ways to reduce your expenses during this time. If you get into a good spending habit, it will only help you post divorce.
4) Think About Custody Goals
If you have children, what are some goals you have for custody? This should be something at the very front of your mind when going through a divorce, and that barring unusual circumstances, you and your spouse are likely to share custody of your children in some way.
If you and your spouse are on good enough speaking terms, this needs to be something that you sit down and have a serious and mature conversation about. Factors to take into consideration include both of your schedules, the schedule of your children, who is making more money, and anything else. If you can do this, you will be far ahead other divorcing couples with kids.
As you approach the decision to file for divorce, it’s very important to take some time and focus on these 4 items. Naturally you will want to exit the marriage with the path of least resistance, and if you work hard at the beginning of the process things will go more smoothly.