A common question for clients considering a divorce focuses on what things they can do to best prepare themselves for their potential divorce. As with everything, it always makes sense to plan out a course of actions and evaluate your options before proceeding, a divorce is no different and consulting and experienced and qualified family law attorney is a sound first step in the that process. By taking simple steps before filing, a client can set themselves up for a much more successful process once the divorce action is initiated.
First, marriage counseling can be a solid initial step, particularly if you are unsure divorce is the right option. Also, ask your attorney what to expect during this process. Understanding the legal system will help alleviate anxiety and will help you know what to expect during court hearings.
Next, look to collect as much information as you can concerning the family financial situation. More specifically, look to collect copies of pay stubs, bank statements, and W 2’s/Tax Returns. That information will be necessary for the court to look at when determining child support and division of assets. Additionally, if you have personal valuables that are a priority for you to keep after the divorce, make sure they are in your possession, particularly if you are concerned that your spouse may take them after you file for divorce. Preserve evidence of bad behavior exhibited by your spouse, such as text messages or emails. If you do not have a separate bank account, open one or set aside money for personal expenses (note that these funds will still likely be considered marital assets and will need to be accounted for as part of the final distribution of marital assets). If you are afraid your spouse will clear out the bank account when you file, let your attorney know this, so he/she can take steps to prevent this.
Finally, remember divorce creates a range of emotions and different reactions to this life change. Seek counseling, if necessary. Do not disparage your spouse in front of your children or try to prevent them from having a relationship with the other parent due to your anger or hurt feelings. Do not engage in unhealthy behavior such as uncontrollable drinking or risky behavior. Do not use social media inappropriately. All of this can come back to haunt you when you are trying to convince the judge you are the better parent. Explaining away poor decisions or Facebook photos/postings that are unflattering is embarrassing and can hurt your case.
By taking some of these simple steps you can help prepare yourself for a potential divorce. These steps can help ease you through this difficult process and help you move on successfully with your life. To speak to one or our divorce attorneys, contact our Omaha, Sioux City or Sioux Falls office today.