How to Prepare for a Divorce

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Marriage is a sanctified relationship, and a divorce can often be one of the most difficult experiences in a person’s life, especially considering that people normally enter a marriage believing it will last forever. However, being in a bad relationship is very difficult and can be an unhealthy situation for everyone involved, so oftentimes divorce is the preferable outcome.

As divorce can be emotionally draining and overwhelming, staying organized can help elevate some of the stress and anxiety involved. Preparation is the key to keeping yourself grounded for the duration of your divorce.

In this article, we have narrowed down 10 ideas that can help you plan for your divorce, whether you are the spouse with the higher earning power, referred to as the “monied” spouse, or the “non-monied” spouse, who has a lower income or has been a stay-at-home parent and therefore has no income. While these 10 pointers can help consider how to prepare for a divorce, there are other, more complex matters that need to be addressed, too. When you have some of these basic steps out of the way, talk to a divorce attorney for guidance about your legal options.

1. Research and Organize

Divorce cases are complicated, regardless of how amicable you try to keep the process between you and your spouse. As an initial matter, you should make inquiries and conduct research on the basics of divorce and the division of marital property in your state. Consider whether mediation is available and advisable or whether you must settle any agreements concerning your divorce through litigation. Seeking the advice of a reputable and recommended attorney is the best way to understand your rights and all available options concerning your divorce.

2. Start Looking for Your Own Source of Income

Whether you are the monied or non-monied spouse, you should take a look at the source of your income. There will be changes in your responsibilities, including having to pay for your own place and health; meeting the needs of your children, if you have any; and, potentially, paying alimony and child support.

3. Schedule an Appointment With a Therapist

You should consider having a self-care session with a therapist who can encourage you to take the steps in the next chapter of your life. This will help you to have a healthy and positive transition.

4. Call for Domestic Help If You Experience Violence

If you have experienced any abuse or harassment, pre- or post-divorce, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline in your state immediately. Get all the information and evidence you have and present this to the court or your lawyer so you can file a restraining order right away.

5. Compile All Marriage-Related Documents and Essential Papers

In order to have a full understanding of your and your spouse’s assets so that they can be distributed properly in the divorce, be sure to collect and make copies of important documents related to your marriage and any and all assets you may own separately or jointly. Your lawyer will ask you to provide relevant documents such as property titles, investment account statements, leases, insurance policies, estate plans, wills, credit-card statements, tax returns, and, of course, your marriage license.

6. Find Professional Support

There are several support systems available to help you manage the stress of going through a separation. From a mediator, divorce consultant or attorney, to a therapist and consultant for custody, finding help in navigating a divorce is always advisable.

7. Have a Mature and Level-Headed Discussion with your Spouse

Telling your spouse that you want a divorce is the hardest part of the process, but once the decision is made, what follows may not be any easier. When sorting out decisions such as alimony, child custody, and division of the assets, discuss these matters in a place where you and your spouse can remain calm and where there are no distractions. Pick a time and a place that you both find convenient and do your best to keep the conversation civil and as emotion-free as possible, even though you or your spouse may have very hurt feelings caused by divorce. Having the assistance of a lawyer or professional mediator can help you and your spouse to have productive conversations concerning your separation and divorce and can assist you to come to the specifics of your agreements as smoothly as is possible. A lawyer or professional mediator can also help draft your Marital Settlement Agreement.

8. Work Out Your Living Arrangements

If you are a parent, you must consider the living arrangements of your children, especially if they are still minors (under 18 years old). You may contact a child custody expert to give you legal advice about how to best address custody arrangements and co-parenting considerations of divorced parents. Keep track of the custody process by making visitation/access schedules and preparing your child/children for the new parenting arrangement.

9. Set Up Your Own Post Office Box (P.O. Box)

To avoid conflict with your spouse, it is advisable to forward all of your mail to a place where your spouse may not have access while divorce proceedings are under way. Establish your own P.O. Box so your lawyer can send all divorce-related documents to you privately. If you can’t afford it, you can ask your family or a close friend to help you with receiving mail.

10. Protect Your Information and Update Your Insurance Policies

The second you feel you are heading down the road of divorce, even though you believe it may be amicable, change all your passwords, phone codes, computer passwords, and email passwords, and place additional codewords on all cellphone or credit card accounts. Once the court has finalized your divorce, you can update all your insurance policies with the help of your advisors/attorney; but you do not want to be seen as engaging in any troublesome behavior, so do not change any insurance policies in the months or weeks leading up to the divorce or separation.

Yonatan Levoritz
ByYonatan Levoritz

With his commitment to sharing knowledge and empowering individuals, Yonatan Levoritz serves as a valuable resource for anyone seeking to understand legal matters more deeply. In addition to his informative blog posts, he also produces educational videos on YouTube, where he shares valuable insights and expertise.

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