Divorce can be quite a complicated and taxing process that can take longer than expected. There’s a number of things you need to prepare before you actually begin with the proceedings. These things will ensure that you are protected and that you get the best possible outcome in the end. Here’s a handy checklist of things you can do and what things to arrange to make the process less stressful.
Hire an attorney
Before you make any major decisions, it’s important that you speak to an attorney first. The simplest things can make all the difference in the end. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and make sure that you arrive at the best possible outcome. There are plenty of reputable divorce lawyers across Suffolk County, NY and you should try to talk to as many of them in order to get the one who best fits your needs.
Prepare yourself financially
Divorce can be incredibly costly. Legal fees will definitely add up in the long run, especially if your divorce takes a while. Set aside money as early as possible or find other sources of funding, and plan your budget ahead of time. Don’t forget to take into account unexpected expenses or emergencies which may happen during the process.
Close joint bank accounts and credit cards
Your lawyer may advise you to close your joint bank accounts and credit cards. If you haven’t already, it’s recommended that you take the time to do this, especially if your marriage isn’t ending on a good note. There’s a possibility that your significant other might drain the bank accounts or run up costly bills. Of course, this is the worst-case scenario, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Figure out your goals for custody
If you have children, you’ll need to decide on who gets custody of them. Unless there are extreme circumstances, you and your spouse will most likely share custody of your children. If you can, sit down with your spouse and review your children’s schedule, both of your work schedules, and other obligations. This will save you a lot of time and help you come up with an ideal schedule for custody.
Build your support network
Don’t underestimate the emotional toll a divorce can take on you and your family. It’s important to build a supportive network that can help you through this difficult time. Surround yourself with your friends and loved ones, as well as a lawyer and a therapist. You’ll make smarter decisions if you take care of your mental health.
The following is a checklist of legal documents you should compile to show to your lawyer. Make copies of each for your records.
- Marriage certificate
- Drivers’ licenses
- Prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements
- Trust documents
- Wills (if applicable)
- Paycheck stubs from the last year
- Joint or individual tax returns
- Check ledgers
- Financial statements or statements of net worth
- Mortgage statements
- Savings passbooks
- Bank statements
- Life insurance policy statements
- Investment statements
- A list of any outstanding, unsecured debts
- Statements for any pension funds, retirement funds, mutual funds, IRAs, or 401(k) plans
- Title and registration of vehicles
Although it may be difficult, following these steps and securing these documents will help you immensely as you prepare for your divorce.