Usually, a person will think about filing for divorce for a long time before they take action. Sometimes they feel something in the air from their spouse and they know something is different, but they get hung up on the feelings and do nothing to address them. In some cases, spouses wait months and even years to get a legal divorce. Regardless of the reasons, during that time, they should be preparing for the divorce. No matter who you are, a divorce will change your life.
Below we are going to give you some tips on a few things you need to have established before going to court. These things may make you uncomfortable, but your stability and the financial stability of your children are at risk. When you go into marriage you establish your ground rules for love. When you go into divorce, you are taking care of business. In a good business transaction, everyone walks away with a fair settlement.
Do not assume your spouse will be fair
You cannot assume your spouse will be at their best. Since the beginning of your marriage, you (probably) have invested in your future together. Regardless of who earns the most income, who had the best benefits package, and who has the best retirement to invest in. Now, everything will be looked at by others and dissected. Lawyers and judges are going to tell him or her what is fair and begin to slice into the investments that you worked so hard to build. They may feel offended that you do not “just trust them” to do the right thing.
Prepare for the worst
Before we get to the “easy” stuff, let’s just tackle the hardest one. Prepare for the worse. During a divorce, it is not uncommon to feel every emotion known to man. This includes:
Sometimes these things are experienced in one day. So, you talk to your attorney and have a worse day conversation. What if your ex spouse remarries they day after the divorce, takes off to a remote island, and refuses to speak to you or pay for his obligations? Let your lawyer know your concerns and he will explain your options and calm your nerves because he has answered these questions dozens of times.
Even though you are not running from abuse, there are some great ideas on this site that you can use. While some of us consider control abuse, in this instance it doesn’t matter. Take the advice and disregard what doesn’t fit. Be very careful with your to-do list. Keep the information confidential. This is important. Do not tell anyone what you are doing. Many people have been blind-sighted because they shared their plans with a best friend who told their husband. Divorce is a situation where people take sides.
Step 1- Inventory
The first thing you are going to do is take inventory of your situation.
- Did you stop school before getting your degree in order to stay home with the family? Will you need additional training to get a (better) job? Document what kind of training, how much it costs, and how long it will take to get.
- Did you inherit any land or property? Get copies of all of the paperwork that went with that transaction. This will prove that it was yours and part of the marital property.
- If you need clothes, shoes, or coats, purchase them now. Check the children’s wardrobe too. Be sure they have enough clothing to get through the next season. Include sports uniforms. If you want to keep this to yourself, order the clothes a bit bigger and on the internet. You can stash them in another room until it is needed to reveal them.
- Call the attorney and ask what he needs. Just as every state has their own rules.
Step 2 – Health
- Take each child in for a complete check-up. Ask for a copy of their medical history. There should be one copy for each parent. The records should include the doctor’s name, address, and phone number. This tells the judge that the children’s health is your priority and you are working with your spouse to ensure their safety.
- If the children need braces or any other temporary treatment, take care of that now. If you have been putting off getting a check-up or a procedure done, do it now while you have good insurance and no question on how long you have been covered.
- Prepare a budget as exactly as you can. Pay attention and make notes for a while. If you were taken out of the house today would you be able to find a job, pay the rent, electric bill, internet, cleaning people, buy food, clothes, and pay for transportation? You have to show that to the judge.
- The attorney will need the last 5-years tax papers you filed.
All these preparations show the court that you are reasonable. You want everyone to walk away with an equal share of the assets. The most important people are the ones who had no say. The children did not ask to be part of this union so they should have the best from both parents.
Getting a headstart on these things gives you time to work carefully and honestly and that helps you come out a winner.