Divorce Advice

Like any major milestone in life, it’s a good idea to start preparing for a divorce before the actual event. That way you can reduce much of the stress and conflict that you’ll likely face if you go charging into the process. Planning ahead helps you make better decisions under less pressure, and start preparing for your life after divorce, as well as helping you avoid some of the pitfalls most divorcees tend to encounter.

Make Sure You Get Your Paperwork Together

Divorce is paperwork-intensive. The amount of documentation required for a divorce can seem overwhelming. That’s why you should begin gathering all that documentation as soon as possible. You’ll need to have records of names, account numbers, addresses and phone numbers for all of your assets and debts. This includes bank accounts, credit cards, loans, school loans, stocks and bonds, mortgages, and property title information. It also is useful to have tax statements for at least the last three years, as well a paper trail of pay stubs and employment information. If there is a business involved, make sure you have a copy of the tax records, assets and debts. Also make sure you have copies of any deeds, prenuptial or ante-nuptial agreements, wills and powers of attorney.

Make Sure You Understand Your Financial Situation

Once you’ve gotten together all the necessary paperwork, you can determine the net worth of the marital estate. The marital estate is everything acquired during your marriage. Net worth is the total of all debts subtracted from the total value of all assets. This gives you an idea of what you should get when you get divorced. If you’ll receive an inheritance, don't put it in both of your names, and don't use it for buying marital property or paying marital expenses. That way, your inheritance will be considered separately from your marital estate.

Also keep a budget of your income and expenses. This will help provide documentation for determining any support that may be awarded, as well as give you an idea of what it’ll take for you to get by after a divorce. If you expect to end up paying support, it’ll give your lawyer a number to argue from in terms of how much support you can afford to pay.

Seek Legal Advice

Make sure you consult with your lawyer during the preparation stage. It is sensible to use the Internet and other resources to inform yourself but there’s no substitute for a qualified divorce attorney.