A divorce is never an easy decision for a married couple to make, but whenever that decision does have to be made, it is usually the right one. That does not mean that the process will always be easy, it can be amicable or it can be contentious because there are so many factors to consider.
From spousal support to division of property, divorce proceedings can get complex, especially if there are children involved. That is why you need an excellent divorce attorney to guide you through the process. If you live in the Michigan area, then you can contact Ash & Ash Legal Group – Divorce Lawyers to help you. Before you contact them—or any divorce lawyer—keep reading to find out what you should do before you file for divorce.
Hire An Attorney
You will need all the help you can get during a divorce and a good divorce lawyer can provide all the help that you need. You should interview several different attorneys before settling on the one that you think is right for you. You should get referrals from friends and family or from your state’s Bar Association. You want to make sure that the lawyer you choose is experienced, is a good communicator, and will pay attention to what you need instead of simply telling you what you should do. Your attorney should understand that you will want to settle things quickly, but they should also be ready and willing to fight for you should things get ugly.
Organize Your Finances
You should gather all of your relevant financial documents before filing for divorce. This includes any documents that have information about your assets, debts, expenses, and income. That can include mortgages, car notes, and various account records. You can also contact your accountant to obtain information on tax returns. Basically, the more financial information that you have, the easier it is for you and your lawyer to craft a viable divorce strategy.
Take a Close Look at All Your Joint Accounts
If you believe that your spouse will try to take as much money from any joint accounts as possible, then you should open an account in your name and put half of the money from your joint account into that new account. You do not have to keep this a secret, but you should avoid spending too much of the money in that account.
You should also pay off and close any joint credit card accounts you and your spouse have together. That will keep both of you from running up any excessive charges on those cards. You can negotiate with a creditor if you cannot pay off the accounts. If that is not possible, then you can have any joint accounts frozen so that neither of you can use them. All of this is necessary because divorce can have a negative effect on your credit score so you should take steps to protect it.
Engage In Good Behavior
Any behavior deemed inappropriate could come back to haunt you during divorce proceedings, which is particularly bad if there are children involved and a custody hearing is imminent. Good behavior means being a basic law-abiding citizen, but you should also avoid pursuing new relationships while the divorce is ongoing. Even that kind of relatively normal behavior can be deliberately misconstrued as being irresponsible.
Good behavior also means carefully monitoring your social media accounts. You should avoid posting anything that might be considered incriminating or salacious and you should avoid complaining about your soon-to-be ex online as well. That kind of behavior could be used against you in the divorce proceedings.
Set Aside An Emergency Fund
As with any possible emergency, you should expect the best but prepare for the worst. So you should try and set aside at least three months’ worth of money in case your spouse goes after everything you have or cuts you off. The emergency fund will keep you on your feet until you can support yourself or obtain financial support.
Be Prepared For The Worst
If the differences between you and your spouse are irreconcilable and divorce seems inevitable, then you should bite the bullet and prepare for the worst. That is because the only thing worse than going through an ugly divorce is going through an ugly divorce and ending up with nothing. Preparing in advance will help to avoid that outcome. That is why your first step should be to find a highly experienced divorce attorney to represent you. They will help you with all the other preparations and fight for you if things get messy.