12 Tips Before You File for Divorce
Before filing for a divorce you should set some goals as to how you want your case to be resolved and what outcome you desire. Take a look at all your options when choosing how you file, whether or not you will need an attorney and whether or not you will try mediation. Once you know where you want to end up, it will be easier to choose your course of action.
If you decide to go without an attorney and represent yourself, make sure you have the resources to do it correctly. You might consider an initial consultation with a lawyer to review your case. Hiring an attorney by the hour to consult during the initial stages of your divorce will be less expensive than full representation for the entire divorce. If you cannot afford an attorney, contact your local Bar Association or legal aid society to see what low income assistance is available.
You are the only person who can decide the best route to take in your divorce. Make sure to gather all the information you will need beforehand and consult with the qualified professionals that are available to you. You will have to live with the decisions you make, your friends and your lawyer will not.
1. Speak to your therapist. Your divorce attorney cannot resolve your emotional and psychological issues. You’ll make better decisions if you keep your emotions out of the legal process. A counselor or therapist can help you sort out the emotional issues before you get to court.
2. Look at the big picture. Try to focus on issues that will be important in the long run. Many of today’s issues and arguments may not matter in a decade. Try to let the little stuff go.
3. Calculate your child support amounts in advance. All states have specific child support guidelines that can be found on-line or in the library. You can plan more effectively if you have a clear idea of your financial position going in.
4. Pay off any joints debts you can before the divorce. Starting out in the black can help you start a new life without worrying about past debts.
5. If there are children involved in your divorce, check to see if there are programs for divorcing parents available in your area. Educational and support programs can help parents to make good decisions and provide proper emotional support for children going through a difficult family breakup.
6. Cancel any jointly held charge cards and debit cards as soon as possible. Remember to revoke any other authorized users on your separate charge accounts as well. Both spouses should set up their own individual credit accounts.
7. Consider the services of a divorce mediator. The overwhelming majority of divorce cases are settled before trial and mediation can often encourage a compromise that works for all parties without battling it out in court. Mediation can help you to take control of your own destiny instead of allowing the court to do it for you.
8. Get an accurate determination of the value of your house. You need to know true value of your property at the time of your divorce. Due to the volatility of the real estate market, the current value of your home could be much different than it was six months ago. You can get an accurate comparative idea of what your home would sell for at the time of your divorce by using the services of a Realtor in your area.
9. Get a current credit report for yourself as an individual. You can obtain free credit bureau reports online from a number of sources. Do not attempt to obtain a copy of your spouse’s credit report without their permission, it is illegal.
10. Remove half of all the cash assets from joint checking, savings and other liquid financial accounts. The court will likely split the accounts later anyway, but don’t take more than half for yourself up front.
11. Change your life insurance beneficiaries before you file for divorce. If you wait until the divorce has been initiated, the beneficiary and the coverage may have to continue unchanged. Consider making your children or relatives beneficiaries instead of your spouse.
12. Replace your old will with a new one to keep your ex from inheriting your estate should anything happen to you before the divorce is final. Make your children, relatives or favorite charity your sole heirs.