Getting ready to file for divorce is stressful. You know that your life is about to become a lot more chaotic, and that always brings with it some stress. Getting ready and gathering information can help get your “ducks in a row”, so to speak, and help the beginning of the process run a lot more smoothly.
Figure out what you own. This sounds easy, but sometimes can be a little complicated. The obvious ones will be the house, cars, and your personal items in the house. However, don’t forget bank accounts, investments, and pensions. Try to gather information about your accounts. If you don’t have access to all of the documents or account statements, don’t worry. Your lawyer can get copies of those after the divorce has been filed. Even just making a note of all the accounts will be helpful.
You also need to know what you owe. Most couples have a mortgage and many also have loans on their cars. Credit card debt, student loans, and medical debt are other common types of debts. Even if you don’t think that you should have to pay on a certain debt, make a note of it. If possible, gather a copy of the most recent statements or make a note of the balance of the debt.
Proof of income for both you and your spouse is also important. Paystubs can be useful, but tax returns are also important. This is especially true where your income varies because of bonuses or overtime. The court commissioner or judge will need to see an average income over time, not just the highest or lowest amount you were paid recently.
Make a list of goals for yourself. Do you want to keep the house? Keep your retirement? Ask for spousal support? Knowing your goals for the future will help you and your attorney create a strategy that’s built around your goals. Of course, knowing what you want for your children is also crucial. Sit down and think hard about what you want for your children. Try your best to leave the anger and hurt that comes with divorce out of your decision. This decision is based on what’s best for the children, and not on how best to hurt your soon to be ex-spouse.
Find an attorney. You’ll want to bring some of these notes and documents with you to your first meeting to help you and your attorney prepare for your case.
Finally, don’t get angry or take actions you will regret later. Getting angry or “getting even” will almost certainly backfire on you in the long run, so make sure to keep calm.
Before divorce papers are ever filed, there are many steps that will help you in the future. Make an appointment with us today to talk about your case and what we need to do to get your case in order. Call us at (253) 272-9459.