I have never met a client or prospective client who casually decided they wanted a divorce. The personal side of this decision is always something they have wrestled with internally, often for months or even years. That having been said…I have noticed a few things people could do to better prepare for the business side of getting divorced.
- Make sure you have a clear picture of your finances. This includes knowing the following:
- Your fixed monthly expenses;
- Your spouses and your own gross and net monthly incomes;
- The amount of money in your checking, savings, retirement, and other investment accounts;
- The amount owed on any credit cards, medical debts, student loans, or other personal loans; and
- A list of your assets including but not limited to, your home, cabin/cottage/condo, vacant land, business interests, rental properties, vehicles, boats, ATVs, and the like…
If you really want to be proactive, gather copies of the documents substantiating all of these things. (Example: pay stubs, tax returns, W2 Statements, monthly account statements, tax bills, and appraisals if you have them.) Your lawyer and his or her legal assistant will love you if you have these items and ready and organized. Having this information will make it much easier for your lawyer to give you a clearer picture of what you could expect should you decide to move forward with a divorce.
2. Consult an attorney.
Even if you are only contemplating filing for divorce you should consult with an experienced family law attorney before making any decisions. An attorney specializing in family law will be able to assess your situation and provide you with a framework for how things will likely unfold. An experienced attorney will be able to alert you to issues you may not have considered like child support, division of tax credits, or health insurance.
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