The divorce process can be taxing and confusing. Use the checklist below for nine ways you can prepare yourself for divorce.
1. Find an attorney
If possible, try to solve your divorce without litigation. If you need to, find an attorney as soon as possible so they can get a jump start on your case.
2. Gather financial information
You will need to have a clear picture of your finances so that the courts can property divide debts and assets.
3. Determine income
You will need legal documentation of both your income and your spouse’s income. Find these documents ahead of time.
4. Prepare an after-divorce budget
You will be adjusting to single life again, therefore your budgeting will also have to readjust. Plan an after-divorce budget before the divorce is finished.
5. If necessary, establish your own credit
If you do not already have credit, open a new credit card in your name only and start to gain credit. Credit can be necessary when getting bank loans or buying a home.
6. Evaluate and protect financial accounts, if necessary
If you are worried that your spouse may raid your joint bank accounts, open a new account only in your name and place half of the money from the original account in it.
7. Close joint credit accounts
If possible, close all joint credit accounts before the separation. You do not want an angry spouse to use your account carelessly resulting in charges that you will have to pay for.
8. Don’t make a move
Moving out of the marital home could have negative consequences. It could affect children’s lives or affect whether you get the home at the end of the case. Continue living in the marital home throughout the divorce process if possible.
9. Be on your best behavior
Anything you say or do against your spouse can be used in court. You do not want to give your spouse any extra leverage in court. Make sure you stay out of any situation that a judge would consider as questionable.