Before you file for divorce, there are a lot of things you need to think about. While some, like where you will live, are obvious, there are some other areas you’ll need to weigh and make decisions about that you might not have thought of.
Make Sure You Really Want One
This may seem obvious, but a lot of people decide to divorce and move full steam ahead only to discover it’s not really what they wanted halfway through the process. Deciding to divorce is emotional, and emotional decisions are difficult to make. If you’re hesitating at all, consider speaking to a therapist or counselor before you file to make sure this is what you really want. Once you’ve filed, it can be difficult to stop the wheels from turning, especially if your spouse feels blindsided by it.
Log Your Finances
You likely already know you need to make a list of accounts and take an inventory of your current assets and investments, but what about that valuable necklace you own? Make a list of personal items that have high financial or sentimental values to you. Get photos of them in the home before you file. This way, should your spouse attempt to hide or damage them out of anger, you’ll have proof of their existence and condition that you can show the court.
Make Your Major Purchases, If Possible
During a divorce, you’ll likely be barred by the court from selling or buying something expensive. This order is issued by the court to prevent a spouse from draining the assets of the marriage or selling large items off without the other spouse’s consent. If you know you are going to need a new car, it may be something you’ll need to get before filing for a divorce.
Keep in mind that even without a court order, you’re going to be facing some trouble if you drain marital assets right before filing for divorce. Speak to a family law attorney before making any asset purchase or sale. They will be able to help you determine whether the move is appropriate in your situation.
Get Your Support Network Ready
A strong foundation of friends and family can be a life raft during a divorce. Of course, you don’t want to make any posts on social media about a potential divorce as these can harm your case later or say things that may get back to your spouse before you are ready, but you can start letting trusted family members and friends know you may be getting a divorce.
You can also seek counseling from a professional. Emotional stability is important during a divorce; it will help you in general and allow you to make wiser decisions throughout the process. If you have children, your emotional state will impact them as well, so keep that in mind if you’re not sure about counseling.
Speak to an Attorney
Talking to an attorney before filing for divorce seems like an obvious step, but many people wait until after they’ve filed. This can be a mistake. You’ll want to know your legal rights and what things you should and shouldn’t do before you’ve filed paperwork. Your attorney will be able to advise you on matters such as spousal support, child support and finances, and they’ll also be able to guide you and give you advice on how to move forward with your case.
A divorce will have you making decisions at every turn, and these choices will have an impact on your life now and in the future. Therefore, it’s important that you truly consider all the angles and don’t make any hasty decisions before you file and during the process.