If you have decided to get a divorce, you should take some time to plan and prepare for divorce. Divorce is a complex process and if it’s contested, it can also take much of your time and money. So, consulting a divorce attorney is helpful at this stage. Take note of these things because they must be on your divorce preparation checklist.
Build Your Team
Divorce is difficult, so you need a team for helping you out throughout this process. Divorce affects every aspect of your life so you require people with a diverse set of skills. This is why when choosing your team, you should not consider one person to be everything. For instance, your lawyer can’t be your therapist. With that in mind, you need the help of people for these roles:
Emotional: Divorce can be hard so you should have someone to talk to about your feeling. Having a friend or family member who is really sincere with you is great, however, you should also consider professional help. Because even if your friends have your best interest in mind, many complex emotions are deciphered better by professional counselors and therapists.
Legal: No-fault divorce can be filed without an attorney, but no-fault divorce is not common so you should talk with a divorce lawyer so you know that someone has your back legally. A divorce attorney will help you know your right and responsibilities and the legal things you must know for smooth sailing. However, avoid making the other spouse hurt with the expertise of your lawyer. Instead, use a lawyer to help you close the relationship.
Gather The Required Information
You will need a lot of information to gather. Start with individual info like you and your spouse’s full legal name, birth date, the address where legal notices can be sent, social security number, employer’s name, employer’s number, length of employment, and salary. Moreover, you should also need to gather the username and password of all of your online accounts and you will also need proof of residency.
You will also need all the martial documents and information like copies of past marriages and divorce certificates, the date and place of your marriage, names of people who signed your marriage license, dates and times of a visit to a marriage counselor with the spouse, and the reason for divorce.
Regarding children, you will need the information of your children under 18 as well or if they are over 18 with a long-term disability.
Gather Financial Documents
You will need to compile a list of financial documents as well that you can show to the court if required.
Begin with assets like vehicles, bank accounts, credit cards, stocks, and other relevant assets. Make sure that the data you compile is detailed and accurate.
After this, check the debts like mortgages, vehicle loans, etc. Then, move to retirement plans, pay information, tax returns, and security deposit boxes.
Get A Post Office Box
We mentioned earlier that you need proof of residency. Your lawyer may need it to know which state’s laws to follow. Although you can prove your residence with other means too, getting a new P.O. Box is better because you will need it for securely receiving divorce-related information from your lawyer and court.
Get A Free Credit Report
The report will show if there are any errors in your information or if are there any accounts that you don’t know about. Moreover, it can help you focus on your credit score as well. A good credit score is required for renting an apartment and making your individual financial identity.
Open A New Bank Account
If you have a joint account with your spouse, you should consider opening a new bank account after taking advice from your lawyer. This is because some states allow opening a new bank account only after the divorce.
If it’s allowed for you to create a new bank account, it can help you stay financially strong. However, don’t deposit money to the account just yet without discussing it with your lawyer or before the court finalizes the divorce.
Plan For Children
If you have minor children, you should consult a divorce lawyer about a custody plan you can propose. You can include visitation, holiday schedules, and other things in it.
Moreover, create a calendar that keeps info on the time of the children with each parent. Plus, get information about child support from your divorce attorney. Considering your financial information, you may be receiving or paying child support.
Additionally, if your spouse doesn’t agree to pay child support during the divorce process, request the court to order the spouse to provide temporary child support. If you’re filing for divorce, you can include this temporary order request as well. If you’re receiving a divorce, include it with your response.
Change Your Passwords
You should change the passwords of your personal accounts like emails, bank accounts, credit cards, social media accounts, and others. Don’t create obvious passwords that people who know you can guess. This will ensure your privacy to an extent.
Secure Your Information
Although changing passwords can make things private for you to an extent, if your phone or laptop is signed in to a mutual account, your information may be accessible to the person who can access that mutual account.
So, remove all the accounts from your phone and laptop, create a new account with strong passwords, and avoid using the family network. Moreover, avoid posting things related to divorce on social media.
Create Your Emergency Fund
Divorce can be hard and require a lot of money so create an emergency fund and keep it strong so you have something to rely on if you ever require more financial support.
If you’re a stay-at-home wife or mom, you should make sure that your emergency fund has money enough that can last for at least 3 months.
This is very important because it’s not uncommon for the spouse that controls finances to cut off the other spouse financially. Moreover, you should also discuss this with your family lawyer Fairfax VA and if you would need temporary spousal support for the length of the divorce process.
List Personal Belongings
You should make a list of things that are your property alone. They can be family heirlooms or gifts. Plus, take note of inheritances you got before and during the marriage.
Employment Or Alimony
In many marriages, one spouse stays at home caring for the house and children while the other spouse goes to work. If you’re a stay-at-home spouse, you should look for employment considering you have the required skills and qualifications.
But it’s not always that simple. If you have a minor, disabled, or breastfeeding child(ren) to take care of you should request temporary spousal support. If the spouse doesn’t agree, file for temporary spousal support along with the divorce petition.
Moreover, alimony makes sense in cases where child care will cost more than the spouse will earn leaving the child at home.
Divorce will be hard, but if you take your time to prepare, you may find yourself in a better position than your spouse. Get in touch with the best divorce lawyers Fairfax VA for getting legal advice along the way.