Divorce is an incredibly stressful process that can be emotionally and financially draining.
It’s a major life decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Before jumping into the divorce process, it’s important to understand what to expect and how you can prepare for it. Here are seven things to know before starting the divorce process.
1. Understand your state’s laws:
Every state has its own divorce laws, so it is important to understand the legal requirements in your particular state. This includes residency requirements, grounds for filing, automatic orders of protection (if applicable), and other regulations that will affect your case. In addition, you should also be aware of the time frames associated with filing and responding to a divorce complaint. This will help you properly prepare and plan for the divorce process. Also, if your state has a mandatory waiting period associated with filing for divorce, you should be aware of that as well.
2. Gather all necessary documents:
Before you file, make sure to collect any documents or financial information related to your divorce cases such as bank statements, tax returns, estate planning documents, and insurance policies. You’ll also need copies of birth certificates and marriage licenses. Additionally, it’s important to obtain a copy of your credit report so that you can review it for accuracy before you start the process. It’s also beneficial to keep track of any joint assets or debts. Moreover, it’s important to obtain copies of any legal documents that you and your spouse may have signed during the marriage.
3. Understand which assets are considered marital and non-marital:
Each state has its own definition of what is classified as marital property and what is not, so it’s essential to understand if certain assets are subject to division in a divorce. Generally speaking, marital assets are those acquired by either spouse during the marriage, while non-marital assets typically refer to property owned prior to the marriage or gifted/inherited during the marriage. Knowing which assets are at stake can help you prepare for negotiations with your spouse. For example, if you have a pre-marital retirement account, it may not be subject to division.
4. Consider the cost of divorce:
Divorce can be expensive and the exact costs will vary depending on the complexity of your case. You should budget for court filing fees, attorney’s fees, mediation costs, or other expert witness or appraisal fees. In addition to these direct costs, there can also be indirect costs such as establishing a new residence and paying for child care while attending hearings or meetings with attorneys. It’s important to plan ahead financially so that you are prepared for potential expenses associated with divorce. Also, if you are wondering what will happen with your financial assets after the separation like who gets the house after divorce, then your lawyer will be able to explain the details of your particular case. So make sure you consult with your attorney.
5. Make a plan:
Divorce can be overwhelming, so it’s important to create a plan and organize yourself. This includes making a list of items to address in the divorce including spousal support, child custody arrangements, division of property and assets, and more. Begin by researching each area and jotting down any questions you have or issues that need to be addressed. This will help you stay organized throughout the entirety of the process. Additionally, it’s beneficial to create a timeline of when certain documents need to be signed or hearings scheduled.
6. Stay positive:
Divorce can be an emotional and difficult process, so it’s essential to stay focused on what is best for you and your family. While the situation may be challenging, remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Also, take time for yourself – exercise, meditate, or do activities that help reduce stress. Additionally, seek out professional counseling if needed as this can provide valuable support during this period of transition.
7. Discuss child custody:
If you have children, it’s important to work with your spouse or partner to create a comprehensive plan for child custody. This should include all aspects of parenting such as financial support, decision-making authority, and physical/legal custody. Additionally, consider the needs of your children and make sure that their best interests are taken into account. It’s also wise to consult a divorce lawyer so that any agreement can be legally binding and enforceable in court.
Ultimately, filing for divorce is a complex process that requires careful planning and preparation. By understanding the necessary documents needed to file, researching which assets are marital property subject to division in a divorce, budgeting for costs associated with the process, creating an organized plan, staying positive, and discussing child custody arrangements, you can help ease the process of filing for divorce.