What Do I Need to Do When Preparing for Divorce?
In many cases, people going through a divorce find themselves in a difficult situation simply because they did not fully prepare for their situation and take steps to protect themselves. If you know that divorce is in your future, there are a few steps you can take to help the process proceed more smoothly and ensure that you are able to achieve a fair settlement that will meet your ongoing needs.
Copy Important Documents
Before filing for divorce, you will want to make copies of all of the important documents pertaining to your finances. These may include tax returns, wills, mortgage documents, life insurance policies and statements for bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts or investments, as well as any other documentation related to your marital property. This will allow you to have a full understanding of the financial issues you will need to address during your divorce.
Understand Household Finances
You should keep track of your utility bills, mortgage or rent payments and other household expenses. You will also need to be sure you understand your spouse’s income as well as your own and any debts or financial obligations either of you may have. If either you or your spouse are self-employed or own a business, you should keep track of all of the income that comes in for a few months prior to the divorce. By understanding your ongoing income and expenses, you will be able to address these issues during divorce and ensure that you can meet your needs after your marriage has been dissolved.
Inventory Your Possessions
Marital property, which includes any assets or debts acquired during your marriage, will be equitably divided between you and your spouse during divorce. You will want to take inventory of all of your marital property, including furniture, jewelry, vehicles, appliances, and anything else of value that will be subject to property division. You may also need to take steps to ensure that your spouse does not attempt to hide assets in an attempt to avoid having to share them with you.
Estimate Your Earning Potential
If you are not employed because you have been staying at home to take care of your children, you may want to make a realistic assessment of how employable you are and the potential income you could earn. You may also look at whether you will want to pursue education to increase your earning potential. The amount you currently earn, the income you are capable of earning, and other factors can play a role in decisions about spousal maintenance. Whether you expect to pay or receive maintenance, you will want to examine your options and ensure that you will be able to meet your needs following your divorce.
Evaluate Your Credit History
If the credit cards used in your household are all in your spouse’s name, you will likely be removed from these accounts during or after your divorce. If you do not have at least one credit card in your own name, you should apply for new cards and begin building your credit history. Making purchases and paying off the balance of credit cards will help improve your credit score, ensuring that you will be able to obtain loans or purchase a home in the future.
Speak to a Barrington Divorce Lawyer
In addition to the steps above, you will face a variety of concerns that will be specific to your situation. Skilled Inverness family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson can help you understand the actions you should take to protect your rights and achieve the divorce settlement you deserve. Contact our office at 847.873.6741 to schedule a free consultation today.