Divorce can be emotionally and financially draining even when ending the marriage is in the best interests of everyone. Dissolving a marriage can have long-term legal and financial implications for the spouses and any minor children. Some careful preparation can help make the process smoother, less taxing and more likely to have a productive outcome.
The following are helpful actions to take before initiating a divorce:
- Set aside some money — This is not to suggest hiding money from your spouse. The goal is to set aside enough money to pay ordinary bills and expenses while the legal matter is pending. This also guards against the possibility that your spouse, in seeking to gain an advantage, may empty joint bank accounts and/or deny you access to financial resources. While the courts can resolve these situations after the fact, it is much better to have sufficient funds on hand until the case is fully resolved.
- Collect information and documents — Having the appropriate documentation in your possession is essential in divorce. Each party is required to supply accurate financial information as to income, assets, expenses and liabilities. Spouses should have readily available all of their financial statements, bank statements, credit card statements, employment records, tax information, property and vehicle titles and insurance policies. In addition, spouses should have copies of various records such as their marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates and children’s school records.
- Prepare the children — If there are minor children of the marriage, they should be prepared for the changing circumstances. Living through their parents’ divorce is nearly always disruptive for children, who should know what to expect in the immediate future in terms of living arrangements, schools and other changes. It might be worth consulting a qualified therapist in advance to help the children process their parents’ breakup and adjust to their new situation. If possible, both parents should sit down together with their children and tell them that both mom and dad love the children and they are not the reason for the divorce.
- Inform your family and friends — Consider telling your family and friends about the divorce before the commencement of the case. Those close to your family should hear the news directly from you to avoid the situation becoming grist for the gossip mill. More importantly, you might want support from family and friends during such difficult times. This requires that they know about the divorce and at least have some idea about the underlying reasons for the breakup.
- Hire a divorce lawyer — Anyone considering legal separation or divorce should seek the advice and counsel of an experienced divorce attorney. Your lawyer will guide you through the process from beginning to end, protecting your rights and those of any minor children.
If you are considering legal separation or divorce, feel free to contact us online or call 833-671-4445 for an initial consultation. At Dawson Family Law, PLLC in Sterling Heights, Michigan, our firm’s concentration is family law, and our team will work diligently to achieve the best results for you.