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6 Practical Steps If You're Thinking About Divorce

Divorce Concept
If you're seriously considering divorce, planning will help make the whole process go more smoothly and be less stressful. It will also increase your chances of positive outcomes. But, what can you do even before you bring up the matter with your spouse?

Here are six practical steps to take on your own as you prepare for divorce.

Start New Accounts

It's important to begin the transition to handling your own money and building a nest egg you can use during or after the divorce. If things get tricky or you want to move out of the family home, for instance, you'll need access to money for things like security deposits, daily living expenses, and basic furnishings. And you need funds to pay your attorney. 

So, choose a new bank or credit union and open an account. Make regular deposits or have a portion of your paycheck deposited into the new account. Have statements sent to an email account, PO box, or address that your spouse doesn't have access to. 

Find a New Storage Location

Along with new accounts, you should locate a place to store information outside the home and away from your spouse's control. You may opt to simply use the home or business of a trusted friend or close family member. If that's not possible or secure, rent a safety deposit box at your new bank. 

In addition to important paperwork and mail regarding your divorce, you may want to store some sentimental items outside the home in case you don't have access to it later. 

Assemble Financial Documents

Divorces generally call for a lot of documentation, and now is a great time to start assembling it. Make copies of joint financial paperwork, including bank statements, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, deeds or titles, and loan documents. Get copies of current and prior year tax returns through your software, physical copies, or accountant. You can also request tax transcripts from the IRS. 

Check your credit report to ensure that there's no incorrect information and that no one has opened any accounts without your knowledge. If you have assets or funds you brought into the relationship — like inheritances or previously-owned property — gather proof of your prior ownership. 

Make Notes on Finances and Activities

Start keeping written track of a number of activities, including income for each person as well as expenditures and debts. You should avoid large, unnecessary purchases or taking on new debt if possible. Also, stabilize your spending and earning habits during this period. 

Although it can be difficult, you should also take notes about parental activities that affect any children in the home. Document which parent attends school activities, extracurricular events, teacher conferences, doctor appointments, and the like. This will help you make the case for custody if necessary. 

Review Divorce Attorneys

Finding a divorce attorney who will serve as an able partner in divorce proceedings may take some time, so start now. Ask close friends or family for recommendations, and check reviews for local family attorneys. Meet with candidates in person so you can see how you work with them. 

Meet with Other Professionals

Many things are about to change in your life, so assemble a team of professionals who can assist you in various ways. Hire an accountant on your own, as any jointly-used accountants may not be able to represent you without having a conflict of interest. In addition, a financial planner is a good idea if you have any brokerage or retirement funds to start managing on your own. 

Finally, consider meeting with a therapist before, during, and after your divorce. Getting some perspective and caring for your own well-being is important. You may also be able to garner assistance in helping any children with this transition.

Whether you're in the early stages of contemplating divorce or have already started the process, the family attorneys at Novack Law Offices can help you navigate this time with less stress and more confidence as you start a new chapter in your life. 

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    The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding you individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your call, letter or electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to you until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.