4 Things You Must Do Before Filing For Divorce
Most couples who choose to marry do not expect their relationship to end. Unfortunately, divorce is a reality for an estimated 40 to 50 percent of couples. Moving out of a shared residence is usually the first step once a person decides divorce is the answer, but there are a few other steps that should be taken. With this guide, you will know exactly what to do to ensure the divorce process is handled in an efficient and effective manner.
Be 100-Percent Sure
Before you pack your bags and consult an attorney, you should be completely sure you want to dissolve your marriage. Divorce is physically, emotionally, and financially overwhelming, so it can be complicated for you, your spouse, your children, and other family members.
If you have any doubt, consider talking with your spouse about counseling or ways to repair the relationship. Make sure to communicate your feelings with your spouse before official divorce proceedings.
If you believe divorce is the best option, begin organizing paperwork that you will need during your initial consultation with an attorney. If you share accounts with your spouse, which is usually the case, make copies of all financial documents before visiting your lawyer. Copies of bank, loan, credit card, and utility statements will all be necessary.
Meet With Multiple Lawyers
It is important to not sign on with the first lawyer you meet. Since divorce is such a personal, emotional journey, you will want to make sure your attorney is not only compassionate, but also on your side. For this to work, you may need to meet with multiple lawyers to find one suited to your needs.
If you and your spouse have children together, make sure to choose an attorney who has knowledge and experience with custody arrangements. Other conditions between you and your spouse may also warrant a specialty attorney. If you and your spouse own investment property or a business together, your divorce attorney should have business experience, as well.
Determine Living Arrangements
If you leave your home before filing for divorce, you will not be able to return until after the divorce is final and the property has been sold or allocated to your spouse. Therefore, it is important to remain in the marital residence until after you speak to your attorney to determine if you or your spouse will need to leave the home during the separation period.
If you or your children are dealing with abuse, leave the home immediately. Contact the authorities and make sure to notify your attorney of this domestic violence.
Divorce is not a pleasant process, but it can be less stressful. Use this guide and your attorney to move through the divorce process in a safe, efficient, and effective manner.