Being prepared for a divorce doesn’t mean you’re actually throwing in the towel. You’re just taking responsible steps to make sure your life after divorce carries on as smoothly as possible. If you are not prepared when you go into divorce, it can turn into an ugly war between your aggressive attorney and your spouse’s aggressive attorney. The whole experience will be a lot harder than it has to be, and you could be shortchanged in alimony, the care and custody of the children, and distribution of marital property.
Get Your Papers in Order
Your divorce attorney is going to need a lot of documentation on the life you and your spouse share. Organizing your paperwork when your life isn’t flipped upside down after the divorce process has begun will make everything go smoother. Anything that documents any assets or liabilities you have should be gathered: tax records for the previous three years, bank statements, retirement accounts, statements from creditors, pay statements, even phone records.
Furthermore, any documentation or evidence you have regarding the cause for your divorce will be help your attorney fight for you if your spouse hires an aggressive attorney to take you to the cleaners.
Review Your Financial Standing
Your net worth will help determine what you will walk away with in the divorce. Your net worth is calculated by adding all of the assets you and your spouse gained throughout the life of your marriage, and deducting the debt you hold. The judge will likely equally distribute your net worth, with account given to who has primary custody of any children.
If you are to be given an inheritance, this may not be considered a marital asset if it is only being awarded to you. However, if you use the inheritance to buy a home or car that you and your spouse share, the value of it is added into your net worth that is split.
In order to accurately determine alimony and child support, it’s a good idea to keep a detailed record of all of the expenses that you incur for several months prior to filing for divorce.
Prepare to Become a Sole Provider
Alimony is becoming less common than it used to be. You will need to be prepared to support yourself after your divorce. If you are a stay at home parent, it’s a good idea to update your resume and look at job possibilities. If your job options are limited and you have the time, it’s a great idea to get an education or skill that will prepare you for the job market.
Talk to a Lawyer
Even if you aren’t ready to actively pursue a divorce, it’s a good idea to have a consultation with a lawyer to get an idea of how your particular circumstances will fair in the case of a divorce. Your lawyer can also give you an idea of what your legal expenses will be, so you can consider ways to raise the money before you need it. If you proceed with the divorce, having a lawyer who already knows your background will be helpful.