Despite your best efforts to save the marriage, there often times come a realization that the marriage just can’t be salvaged.

If you have reached the determination that your marriage is beyond repair, there are several simple steps that you can take prior to filing for divorce that will assist you in obtaining the best outcome possible. The following post is intended to provide you with a brief overview of some reasonably simple steps that you can take to prepare yourself for the impending divorce.

  • First, determine and identify your priorities/goals as they relate to your anticipated divorce. No two divorces are exactly alike, and something that was important to your friend in their divorce may be of little to no consequence to you in your divorce. Prior to filing for divorce it is import to gain an understanding of what issues are most important to you as part of your divorce. If children are involved it is not uncommon for issues of custody and visitation to be of primary importance. If that is the case in your situation, take some to seriously reflect on what outcome (from a custody/visitation perspective) is going to serve the children’s best interests going forward. This is a challenging task to complete in the best of circumstances and it becomes even more complicated when dealing with the strong emotions that often times accompany a divorce. However, by taking the time to seriously consider this question before filing for divorce, you will be better prepared to take the necessary steps to ensure your children’s best interests are served.

If your divorce does not involve issues concerning custody or visitation, property distribution issues are likely to be the significant issue in play. If that is the case in your impending divorce, take the time to understand and prioritize what outcomes are likely to best position you for financial success. Reaching this understanding early on in the process will ensure you are positioning yourself accordingly to protect your financial future

  • Next, familiarize yourself with the marital finances. Often times one spouse is at a significant disadvantage as it relates to understanding the parties’ finances. If that party is you, make it a priority to obtain as much information as possible about the various assets and debts of the parties. This includes understanding where all checking and savings accounts are held, what retirement and investment accounts the parties have, what real property assets (i.e. house, land, etc….) are at stake, and even high dollar personal property items (artwork, furniture, high end electronics, etc….).

In addition to understanding what assets are in out there, also take the time to identify what debts have been incurred. Debts include everything from mortgage loans and student loans, to credit cards, car loans, and personal loans. The more effective you are in identifying the various assets and debts in play, the easier it will be to ensure an equitable distribution of marital property as part of the divorce.

Lastly, by taking the time to gain an understanding of the marital finances prior to filing for divorce, it will set you up for success in managing your finances during and after the divorce. A divorce is not only an emotionally difficult process; it can also be a significant detriment to your financial wellbeing. By taking the time to fully understand the financial situation prior to filing for divorce, you will be better positioned to set yourself up for a successful financial future.

  • Third, take care of yourself. A divorce is a difficult situation to say the least, and it is only made more difficult if you are not taking care of yourself. Often times when a divorce is on the horizon, an individual will prioritize everyone else before themselves. Although it is critically important to maintain a focus on what is in the children’s best interest (if minor children are impacted by the divorce), focusing solely on the children’s interests to your detriment is not helping anybody. If you do not take the time to see to your personal health and welfare during this challenging time, you will be a less effective parent and you will have a reduced capacity to address the host of issues that will undoubtedly spring up during the course of the divorce.

To ensure you are taking care of yourself it is important to carve out time for things that will help you reach this goal. This includes scheduling time for regular exercise, focusing on a healthy diet, and reaching out to professionals (i.e. therapists/counselors) who can help you effectively cope with the additional stressors that an impending divorce is likely to present.

If you have determined that your marriage is beyond repair, and a divorce is imminent, it is important to take the steps necessary to protect your interests going forward. Upon the conclusion of your divorce you want to be in a position that will allow you to successfully move forward and accomplish your goals. By addressing the three simple matters identified above, before filing for divorce, you will be better positioned to obtain this result.

Questions or comments? Contact our Sioux City, Sioux Falls, or Omaha law firm to speak with an experienced family law attorney today!


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