There are many steps you need to take before filing for divorce. The time you spend planning for your divorce is time well invested. When we advise clients on the divorce process, the following are things we recommend before filing divorce papers.
Make the Decision
Marriage isn’t easy. There are highs and lows in every marriage. Unless domestic violence or criminal behavior are involved, divorce is not a decision that you should rush to make. In most cases, counseling and therapy should be attempted before making the decision to divorce.
Get Your Finances in Order
The division of financial assets is one of the most contentious facets of divorce. When you make the decision to file, you should compile a complete picture of the marital finances. Tabulate the value of the following:
- Retirement Accounts
- Investment Accounts
- Savings Accounts
- Cash Assets and Contents of Safety Deposit Boxes
- Debts Including Student Loans, Mortgages, Medical Bills, etc.
- Real Estate
- Business Holdings
- Personal Possessions of Sentimental Value
You should take photographs and videos of physical items. This helps verify their condition and helps protect them from destruction. If you are concerned about the potential destruction of personal or sentimental items, you should remove these from the home and store them in a secure location.
Research the Divorce Process
It is advisable to discuss the divorce process with an Arizona divorce attorney. The attorney can explain applicable statutes regarding child custody, division of assets/debts, spousal maintenance, etc. This will give you a better idea of how the divorce will affect you and your family.
Build a Support Network
Even amicable divorces can be emotionally difficult. Before you start the process it’s a good idea to build a support network of family and friends that you can go to as the process moves forward. Aside from an ear to listen, they can provide assistance with day to day tasks so that you can attend court hearings, appointments with your lawyer, etc. Your support network will also help keep you grounded so that you don’t make knee jerk decisions.
It is best to curtail any unnecessary spending in the months before you file for divorce. This will help you save funds for the days ahead. You should set a savings goal that will provide a cushion of at least a few months. Similarly, you will want to establish a budget going forward that takes into account the loss of income, healthcare expenses, new living arrangements, etc.
Put the Past in the Past
Whether it is an amicable or contentious split, it is imperative to put the past in the past before filing for divorce. As the saying goes, what’s done is done. Setting bad feelings, bad emotions, and bad thoughts aside will help you focus on the process and make it easier to move forward from the marriage.
Take Care of Children
Children of any age suffer the most in a divorce. It is crucial to determine the best way to protect and shield them throughout the process. You will have to determine the best way to discuss the divorce with them based on their age and maturity level. As the divorce moves forward, it’s crucial to answer their questions and address their concerns as the parenting plan comes together. However, at no point should children be brought in to mediate, moderate, or engage in disagreements with your spouse.
We invite you to contact Simon Law Group, PLLC at (480) 745-2450 to discuss filing for divorce. Our team will answer your questions and help you prepare for the steps ahead.