Ending a marriage is a difficult, emotional, and seemingly overwhelming process. The first steps may be especially difficult. Here are some ways to prepare for your divorce.
Consider your options
Before taking this leap, explore your options unless you are in a dangerous situation such as domestic violence. Couples’ counseling may be an opportunity to work out marital problems. Therapists can help provide personal guidance.
Knowing your financial situation is important. Obtain documents on all your assets, debts, income, and other financial information immediately in case your spouse tries to hide this information later. Tax returns, bank statements, loan documents and statements covering your mortgage, retirement accounts and credit cards are essential documents.
Savings and checking accounts
Open a new checking and savings account solely in your name. Do not use the bank that you and your spouse used for joint accounts. Begin depositing money in your account to help pay for the divorce and future expenses.
Establish your own credit by opening a credit card in your name. This will help you with paying expenses that arise when you may not have available cash.
Obtaining a credit report will provide you with information on any debts in your name. This will provide you with the knowledge to resolve credit disputes. Credit reports also help you monitor your credit to assure that credits are not being opened in your name or charges are being made on joint accounts.
Will and medical directive
You should update your will if you do not want your spouse to serve as your executor or receive any inheritance. You also need to change your medical directives to assure that your soon-to-be former spouse cannot make health care decisions on your behalf.
Divorce will likely mean that your will be paying for expenses alone that were previously shared. It is important to calculate what your future expenses will be.
Document your costs for food, gas, haircuts, eating out, your car, pets, trips, childcare, clothes trips, and other expenses for two to three months. This will help provide a realistic understanding of your future expenses.
Open a new email account inaccessible to your spouse before you file for divorce. Do not email or post anything on social media accounts that can be used against you in a divorce.
Using social media to discuss your divorce, venting about your spouse, showing trips and expenditures, and revealing new romances can cause serious difficulties.
Attorneys can advise you on your legal options, describe what you can expect and help you begin this process. They can also represent your interests in negotiations and proceedings.