21 May Five Things to Do Before Filing for Divorce
The prospect of seeking a separation from your spouse can seem a little overwhelming and scary. However, if you want the divorce to run as smoothly as possible, there are a few things that you should do before you ever make any filings.
Get your financial documents together
Financial documents including bank and credit card statements, mortgage agreements, and tax returns will help to determine your net worth. It is important to gather this information before you file, in case your spouse makes any attempt to move money or destroy evidence after you have announced your intentions.
Create an emergency fund
Your divorce proceedings may drag out for a long time so it is crucial to ensure that you have some money set aside to tide you over until everything is finalized. Ideally, you should try to sock away enough money to cover your living expenses for up to six months. Do not put this amount in a joint savings account as a malicious spouse may decide to withdraw it and leave you in the lurch.
Avoid extramarital affairs
From a legal standpoint, it is best to avoid finding a new boyfriend or girlfriend until the divorce process has concluded. You certainly shouldn’t begin an affair before you even file for divorce. This is because the law in most jurisdictions still considers you legally married until the divorce paperwork has been finalized. Any relationships outside your marriage may be considered adulterous and may impact how favorably the judge looks upon your case.
Prepare a balance sheet
Use a balance sheet to consolidate information about your finances and assets. You should include information about any properties, cars, investments, bank balances, pensions, and others. In addition, your balance sheet should include any liabilities you may have including mortgages, credit card debt, loans, and others. This will help you determine exactly how much you own and how it should be split during the divorce.
Determine what your grounds for divorce are
Before you file for divorce, you will need to let your attorney know what your grounds for divorce are. This will help them come up with the right strategy for your case. In addition, some grounds for divorce (such as spousal abuse) may cause the judge to accelerate your case in order to protect you or young children from a dangerous and unlivable situation.
If you are unprepared, divorces can sometimes get a little messy. However, by getting all of your ducks in a row before you file, you can ensure that the process runs smoothly and seamlessly.