Whether you have been considering divorce for a while or your spouse just surprised you with an announcement, it is jarring to go from thinking like a married person to planning for a single future. As difficult as this time is emotionally, you will need to start planning sooner rather than later.
How you proceed will depend on what kind of divorce you are expecting. Many couples are able to maintain a civil relationship while going through divorce, increasing their options to include things like mediation and collaborative divorce. Other couples will almost certainly be going through an acrimonious divorce, in which case they should be preparing in a different way.
Expecting an Amicable Divorce
If you and your spouse are parting on relatively good terms, it is important to keep fostering this cooperation from now through at least the conclusion of the divorce. It is really important to “pick your battles” at this point, and you should avoid getting drawn into arguments about relatively small matters, especially over issues like property division, which can be worked out later.
Do you have minor children at home? If so, you and your spouse should sit them down and announce the divorce plans together. Take the time to reassure them that they are not at fault and that you will do everything you can to make their transition easier.
Divorce With Trust Issues Or Acrimony
Many couples are not fortunate enough to part on good terms. If your spouse is spoiling for a litigated fight or if there have been trust issues around money in the past, you’ll need to take some protective steps as soon as you’ve decided to divorce. According to a recent MSN Money article, you should:
- Close joint checking and savings accounts and open some in your own name only
- Keep a careful eye on your credit reports to ensure that your spouse isn’t revenge-spending or trying to deplete assets ahead of divorce
- Take the time to estimate what your share of the marital estate should be and discuss it with your attorney
In All Cases: Hire A Good Attorney
The number one tip in any divorce is to find an experienced and well-regarded attorney that you feel comfortable working with. This person will be your biggest advocate during a very difficult process, so you need to feel at ease with him or her.
If you want to know more about how our firm can help you with divorce or another family law matter, call us to arrange an initial consultation.