Divorce is never an easy decision to make. It can typically involve many different factors and even people. There are ways to make the finalization of divorce easier by creating a checklist for yourself before taking it to the serious point of divorce. Knowing how to handle a divorce before papers are signed can be beneficial to both parties and at the very least, give you peace of mind that things are in the right order. Here you will find some of the things to add to your checklist before finalization, ensuring you won't have to deal with any potholes along the way.
- Finances are a big part of a divorce. Many married couples share joint accounts and may have for many years. Keep track of what's in the accounts before bringing divorce papers into play. If possible, begin the separation of what's yours into a new account on your own. In the unfortunate case of a soon to be ex-spouse draining a joint account when they get informed of the impending divorce, you will be safe from potential over-spending that you're unaware of.
- On the same page, with separating your accounts, it's best to close joint credit accounts as well. Try to have them paid off before divorce proceedings begin as it can be a bit more difficult after the fact. You can request the accounts to be frozen as well, but this won't get rid of a balance due.
- Do your homework on who's representing you! A divorce attorney may not always be needed if both parties remain civil and find an agreement amongst each other, but that is not always the case. If it's a particularly messy divorce (or has the potential to be), a divorce lawyer should be at the top of your checklist. Don't go with the first lawyer you meet with. Try to interview 3-5 lawyers who have at least 5-10 years of experience in family law.
- What will your living situation be after the divorce is finalized? Do you think you and your soon-to-be ex-partner will still live civilly together, or is someone moving out? If it's the latter, both parties will now be taking on rent/mortgage payments on their own. This can be a bit more difficult when children and owned property are involved. It's recommended to remain living with the partner you are divorcing until all court proceedings are done and the divorce is officially final.
- One of the most important things to do before finalizing a divorce is to keep your cool and lay low. A divorce is a very emotional time for everyone involved, and acting out in anger and frustration will only make things harder for you. As for laying low, it's a good idea to keep the dating to a minimum until the divorce is said and done. This looks better on you if you remain focused on the goal of working on your family if there are children, and if there are no children, it's a good time for you to reflect on yourself and work on that.
There are quite a few other things to make sure you go over before divorce is finalized, but these are some of the top things that should be covered before taking that last step. It's an unfortunate time, and every situation is different, but if you're prepared beforehand, it makes it a bit easier.