Next Step for Divorce
You’ve done the research, you’ve downloaded our divorce guide, and you’re ready to move forward with a divorce. What do you do next?
Step one is to meet with a divorce attorney to learn your rights and options for moving forward. Call us to talk about your situation with a case manager and to schedule your consult with one of our divorce attorneys. During your call, and during your consult, we are going to get the facts of your situation, and build a game plan.
Step two is planning and preparing for the consult. In fact, the sooner you start your divorce planning, the better. Here are some of the next steps to preparing for your divorce.
Finances are typically the first pressure situation of a divorce. Whether you have handled all the finances in the past or not you need to take a moment to review them. Find out how much your house is worth, how much your cars are worth, how much debt you have, and how much is in your savings or IRA’s. Put together a personal balance sheet, or marital balance sheet.
Create a budget, or several budgets based on different scenarios. List out incomes, and expenses. Think about how much your monthly living expenses are now, and how much they may be in the future. Error on the side of caution. Looks for items you can cut. A budget will tell give you a good idea of how much you need to tighten your spending.
We always recommend clients to start saving money. Or, at least to start decreasing your expenses. Clients going through a divorce need to shrink their expenses as much as possible. You will need the flexibility for unexpected expenses like attorney fees, court costs, security deposits for an apartment, car problems, etc.
Your divorce lawyer will need copies of important documents. Gather copies of paystubs, banking statements, tax returns, credit card statements, mortgage statements, car loans, retirement statements, etc. Get copies of these documents now, because getting them later may be harder. No matter how much you and your spouse make, a divorce is going to alter your budget.
Figure out what you may want from the divorce and what you are willing to fight for. And know their order of priority. Is primary custody your number one goal, or is it spousal support. Identify the issues you may be more willing to compromise on. No one gets everything they want in a divorce. You need to go into a divorce with goals and reasonable expectations. Have the list ready for your attorney.
Things could get ugly. Especially if this divorce is a surprise to your spouse. Maintain access to your funds, as spouses may be tempted to drain accounts when they find out you are filing for a divorce. You may decide to withdraw money and deposit it into a separate bank account. This is not illegal to do. Another good strategy is to apply for credit cards and have them available if you need funds.
Think about a place you can move to if things getting really nasty, or violent. Maybe a family member, or friend. You don’t need to stay. It is not against the law to abandon your home or children to avoid physical harm. Your attorney can discuss an emergency game plan.
Read more our articles, and watch our divorce videos. Go through our content to learn more about the divorce process, your legal rights, and answers to the most asked questions. We have a divorce guide, and divorce videos. The more you know the less surprised your will be.
Divorce is 50% law, and 100% emotions. Be ready to talk with a marriage therapist. Sure, you can talk to us, but we are attorneys not therapists. We are not as good at discussing your emotions as a licensed therapist and twice the cost. Here is a list of local marriage therapists.