Going through a divorce can be an overwhelming and complex process. If you are considering divorce, there are steps you can take ahead of time that can make the process less stressful and help you stay organized and focused.
Manage Your Finances
It is important to start putting money aside so you can pay your legal fees and living expenses on a single income. If you are working, deposit all or part of your paycheck into a separate account that your spouse cannot access. Keep track of finances such as your income, your spouse’s income, household expenses, assets and debts.
Reduce unnecessary spending. Refrain from splurging on items you don’t need or making large purchases while you are preparing for a divorce.
If possible, close joint accounts. Typically, both parties on a joint account must give the bank permission to close it. If your spouse agrees, close joint bank accounts and split the money. If you have credit cards together, either cancel them or remove one person from the account. Be sure to keep copies of all bank statements, credit card statements, pay stubs, tax returns and investment and retirement account statements.
Keep these vital documents in a safe place away from your home, as documentation of all your finances will be very important for your attorney. Open a safe deposit box in your name or store them at a trusted friend’s or family member’s home. Meet with a financial professional such as an accountant or financial planner. He or she can help you prepare for the economic impact of your divorce.
Prepare for Custody Disputes
Document everything regarding your children in writing. Note which parent takes them to appointments and attends activities such as sports games, recitals and other extracurricular activities. Get records from your children’s school that show who attends parent-teacher conferences and other school functions. Documenting these things will show how involved you are in your children’s lives.
Unless there is violence in the home, stay with your children until your divorce is finalized. If there have been any incidents involving the police or child protective services, get copies of all reports. Drug & alcohol and psychological evaluations may also help to determine why your spouse is ill-equipped to take custody of your children. Store these documents in a safe place. They will be an integral part of determining custody.
Take Care of Yourself
Find a therapist and see him or her regularly. It may be a good idea to have your kids to speak to a child therapist as well. This type of support is essential for your emotional well-being and can help your children get through the divorce process with minimal stress.