No one wants an ugly or complicated divorce. By taking the time to gather the information your lawyer needs before you start divorce proceedings, you may be able to reduce stress, save money and help ensure a smooth process for you and your family.
Make the divorce process easier by following these steps:
- Put funds aside. Keep the divorce process smooth from the start by putting aside money to cover the retainer fee for your lawyer and other fees that may arise. You should also consider setting aside funds for living and other expenses, in case your spouse cuts you off financially after you file.
- Do your research. Knowing the options for dissolution of a marriage can help you better navigate the divorce process. Research as much as possible about divorce proceedings in your state, child custody and support, spousal support, and potential alternatives to divorce like an out of court settlement, an annulment or alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
- Be ready to discuss your marriage and plans for your children. Be prepared to discuss your options with your lawyer. They’ll want to know what contributed to the end of the marriage, your preferences for divorce proceedings, how much spousal support you require, and your input on custody and visitation rights of your children.
- Prepare your financial records. If you haven't prepared an accounting of your finances, now is the time. Income, expenses, debts, bank accounts and retirement plans are all examples of information essential for managing your finances both before and after you file.
- Gather records of assets and property. Dealing with community property issues can be a time-consuming process unless you and your spouse have a very small estate. By providing your lawyer with a of all assets and property secured during the marriage, you can help ensure the even distribution of property.
- Pre/postnuptial agreements. Bring documentation of all marital agreements with you to your first consultation with your lawyer. These can reduce emotional distress in general and make the division of property trouble-free for both parties.
Consult with an experienced divorce lawyer to learn more about which divorce options are available for you and your family.