While divorce is pretty much common these days in many countries, the process varies depending on the situation of the couple. For couples who just had short-term marriages and don’t have children, the divorce process isn’t that tedious and complicated. However, everything becomes complex if we’re talking about long-term marriages with minor children, marital debt, and vital property entanglements.
Having said that, whether you’re a woman or man, it pays to be prepared for the process if you want to have a less stressful and expensive divorce. Before anything else, here are the four major steps that you should take first.
1. Get a good divorce attorney
In case you and your spouse can’t settle without litigation, ensure you have a responsible divorce lawyer by your side. Find someone who’s highly capable to litigate the case before the judge. They need to have the ability to communicate well as negotiation resolution is also a vital part of their job.
Ideally, opt for someone who has experience in dealing with various types of legal cases aside from divorce. It can be child custody, adoptions, property distribution, and several other aspects of family law.
Moreover, a good divorce attorney knows how to successfully settle the allocation of assets through negotiation and mediation. Other important things to look for include composed composure, great accessibility, and of course, affordability.
Keep in mind that divorce law is very complex and can be very confusing, no matter how simple your situation is. For such reason, it’s critical to hire an attorney that possesses great knowledge and experience in navigating the legal system. It’ll be better if you can interview at least three attorneys.
2. Start preparing finances
Getting an idea of where your finances stand is the next thing you should be taking care of. There are two basic goals for this, one is to figure out what you own, and second, know what you owe. Understanding these will help you assure that you’ll be getting fair settlement negotiations with your spouse.
In determining what you own, obvious marital assets such as vehicles, house, and financial accounts are the ones that will be split equitably. On the other hand, not-so-obvious assets are pension plans, belongings, or inheritances.
As for what you owe, regardless of whose name is in the debts, the money will be split depending on the person who’s more financially capable to pay for them. You can acquire a copy of your credit report to see the list of marital debts.
Besides that, start tracking and anticipating future expenses. This is helpful if you’re trying to create a post-divorce budget. If you haven’t tracked your expenses over the past months, start it now. From food, clothing, transportation, child care, to household bills, check everything that you spend money on.
Don’t forget to also project future expenses by looking beyond your average. For instance, if you have a child, you are likely to transition from child care to after-school activities and soon, college tuition and expenses.
3. Organize all the necessary documents
If you want to save money, you need to be efficient in your divorce. Do that by gathering and organize important documents, especially financial ones. It’s ideal to have extra copies of the original ones, both for you and your lawyer—from your will to post-nuptial agreements.
Other documents to prepare may include financial account or credit card statements, automobile titles, check registers, life insurance policies, mortgage documents, and family trusts. If your partner is self-employed, ensure to also get details about their business or finances.
At the same time, be alert to any new statements or steps your partner will take. Are they getting a new bank account? Is there any large expenditure that was made? Find ways to collect documents related to such.
By readily providing these documents to your divorce lawyer, they can have a clear picture of your situation. At the same time, you are also preventing any huge dispute over what things are to divide up.
4. Be on your best behavior
Most couples often get too emotional and stress when facing such a tough process like divorce. If you want things to go as smoothly as possible, be hyper-vigilant with your behavior. Don’t do anything inappropriate that your spouse can use against you in court such as starting a new relationship.
Spend time with family, friends, and most importantly, focus on your children. Take care of yourself emotionally and physically. By being calm, composed, and clear-headed, it’ll be easier for you to make decisions and go through the divorce process.
Before you plunge into a divorce, make sure to do all the above-stated tips to avoid any problems and delays with the process. Diving straight right in, won’t just cause you great amount of stress and time but also money. Make this experience easier for you and your client by taking these steps so you can be prepared for this long and taxing process.