Divorce is on the horizon. Maybe you had your spouse served with divorce papers, or maybe you received the papers. Regardless, you are going to be moving forward with the divorce, and you may not be sure how to proceed. Below, you will find some of the most important things that you should do to get ready for divorce.
See If Settling Could Work for You
Before you rush headlong into a contested divorce that has to go to trial, consider whether it might be possible for you and your spouse to settle. Many couples end up settling their divorce because it tends to be faster and cheaper, and it provides them with more power over what happens in the divorce.
If you feel that your spouse might be the type of person that can negotiate and who would settle, it’s a good idea to pursue this option. Even the court prefers that you settle all or at least most of the various factors in your divorce. While you get ready for divorce, try to determine this as early as possible.
Prepare for a Parenting Plan
One of the areas that you will want to walk about with your spouse is your parenting plan. Parents who are divorcing have a lot they have to consider. Ideally, you and your spouse will be able to reach agreements on how the new plan will work.
You can work together to create a calendar to determine when the children will be with each parent. You can start to determine things like the holiday and break schedules, special occasions, and more.
It’s also a good time to learn about child support and whether you will be the one paying or receiving it. It can depend on factors such as how long you spend with the children, your income, your ex’s income, etc.
Consider the Difference Between Community and Separate Property
Community property is generally anything that was purchased after you got married. Separate property would be anything that you brought into the marriage and that you didn’t spend community funds to buy, repair, upgrade, etc. If you did spend community funds to help with separate property, part of that property could now belong to the community.
In some cases. there are clear delineations as to the nature of different assets and debts in your divorce. Other times, it is not so easy to understand, and you would benefit from working with an attorney or a financial specialist.
Collect Needed Documentation
You should also make sure that you start to collect all of the important documents you might need for your divorce and after. This includes the basics like your IDs, of course. It also includes any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that were made, your marriage license, life insurance policies, vehicle titles, deeds, log-in information, credit report, etc.
Don’t forget about financial documents, too. You want to have information about your assets and debts, retirement plans, income information, tax returns, and any other financial information.
Consider Your Finances
Divorce is going to affect finances for most people. You will essentially be reducing the amount of income you have by however much your spouse was bringing home. Now, you have to make sure that you can live on that much money. It’s crucial that you get ready for divorce by prepping all of your paperwork, documents, and evidence regarding your personal and shared finances.
This can be something of a shock to a lot of people. It might mean that you need to get a second job to make ends meet. It could mean that you have to downsize and change the way that you are spending.
Look for a New Place to Live
Along the same lines, you will want to start looking for a new place to live. While some couples might live with one another during the divorce process, it’s rare and it doesn’t usually work very well.
Something else that doesn’t work well is trying to stay in the family home after your spouse moves out. Although it might seem like the easiest thing to do, it’s often more expensive and impractical.
Talk with a Therapist
When you are going through a divorce, both during and after, it can be mentally and emotionally taxing. You often feel as though you don’t have people that you can talk to about the divorce, and you don’t have tools to help you get through your day.
Something you should consider is getting in touch with a therapist. This can often be one of the best things to help keep you focused and mentally healthy.
Align with the Right People
In addition to seeing a therapist, you should also think about connecting with some of your friends and family during this time. However, don’t be surprised if some of the people you once called friends decide to shun you and take your spouse’s side. It happens and there isn’t anything you can do about it.
What you can do is keep your true friends and your family members close. Don’t talk to them about the split, but get out and have fun with them. This helps to ensure that you aren’t constantly focused on the divorce.
Take Care of Yourself Physically
Don’t forget that you need to take good care of yourself. Too often, people start eating unhealthy foods, or they stop eating entirely. They don’t exercise, or they exercise too much. What you need to do is make sure you continue a good, healthy regimen for your body. It can help to keep the stress at bay.
Consider Whether You Need an Attorney
While you get ready for divorce, one of the first things that you are likely to think about is the divorce attorney. Do you really need to have an attorney, or could you go through the divorce on your own?
The answer to this question is going to vary. If it is a relatively simple divorce, or if you and your spouse are adamant about finding ways you can settle, then you might not need an attorney. However, if there is a lot of contention in the divorce, having an attorney at your side is typically a good decision.