Prepping for the Start of Divorce
The road to divorce is rarely straight and clear and often involves a number of deviations and recalibrations as couples try to work through difficulties. When divorce is imminent, spouses may think that the hard part of the process is over. Yet while ending a marriage is extremely painful and complicated, deciding to move on is the just first step.
A spouse can certainly walk into a divorce attorney’s office without doing anything more than deciding to divorce, even before telling the other spouse. However, entering the divorce process without significant advance planning is likely to set a person up for a much harder transition, as well as a longer period of time to conclude the divorce case.
Taking the time to put key pieces of information together will allow consultations with a divorce attorney to be more productive and will make obtaining the result a person may want much easier. This approach may appear to involve more work than anticipated, but walking into the process without a clear picture of one’s starting position can greatly complicate things.
Finances are one of the hardest adjustments spouses must face with regard to divorce. People tend to assume that more money will be available after the dissolution. However, the opposite is almost always the reality.
To prevent financial shock, and the possibility that one will not have the money he or she needs to live, an assessment of several financial issues should be made at the outset of this process, including:
A monthly budget – Expenses will increase as the household splits. Therefore, knowing how much money is needed each month to cover the bills is imperative for questions of support and property division, as well as the sustainability of current employment;
Earning potential – An individual getting divorced needs to understand how much money can be expected so the right questions can be assessed in the divorce case about the division of marital property and the payment of support;
A spouse’s earnings – The earnings of both spouses are used to calculate spousal and child support; thus, having an idea of this number will make it easier to negotiate a settlement; and
A nest egg – Divorce generates a lot of expenses that need to be planned for up front, so starting the saving process early is important. Legal fees, Court costs, and the money needed to transition into a one-person household all necessitate having extra funds available to maintain financial stability.
The division of marital property is often one of the more disputed aspects of divorce, and spouses tend to focus on big money items like real estate. However, marital property includes personal possessions as well, and an inventory of all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage should be performed to accurately determine the marital estate. This number will give each party an idea of what to expect post-divorce, which drives an individual’s long-term financial health.
Finally, if children are a part of the equation, they need to be addressed first in any decisions made, including how to tell them about their parents’ breakup. Mishandling child-related issues in divorce can produce significant negative repercussions. Moreover, the best interests of the child should always be the top priority. Putting the interests of the child first reduces the possibility of harm and often leads parents to a parenting plan that is optimal for the child’s growth and development.
Speak with an Illinois Divorce Attorney
Divorce involves a lot of moving parts that require careful planning, both privately and in consultation with an experienced Mt. Prospect divorce attorney. The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. can guide you through several approaches to divorce, which may better address your needs and those of your family. Contact the firm for a free initial consultation.