10 Things You Must Do Before You File For Divorce

Marriage is a multimillion-dollar industry and when a couple spends a fortune on rings, a band, and a venue in which to get married, they never expect to get a divorce. However, marriages end every day, and when they do, people tend to think with their emotions. They do not always take the steps that they should to ensure things go smoothly.

If your marriage is ending, there are a few things you should do before filing for divorce.

Seek Counseling

It is not at all uncommon for a couple to change their mind about getting a divorce midway through the process. This can be a costly and time-consuming decision. A family therapist can help you decide if your differences are truly irreconcilable, or if they can be worked out.

Work Out a Parenting Plan

Your therapist can help you decide where your children will live and with whom during the time of the divorce. You should also make a temporary child support plan to take care of the children’s needs while you are working out permanent arrangements for child custody and support.

Document Your Assets

Any divorce attorney is going to want documentation of the assets you have acquired during a marriage. You should organize your tax returns, bank statements, and records of any investments that you have made during the marriage. You should also make copies of the deed to any properties you own or the titles of any automobiles you have acquired.

Document Your Liabilities

If you are like most couples, you have acquired some debt during your marriage. Be sure to bring copies of things such as credit card bills and any loans you have taken out to the first meeting with your attorney.

Decide Where You Will Live

The state of California does not require a trial separation for a divorcing couple, but it does take 6 months for a divorce to go through. You should decide if one of you will live in the home you shared or if you want to sell it.

Establish Your Own Credit

If you have shared credit with your spouse for many years, you may find it difficult to get a credit card or home in your own name. Before you get a divorce, it may be advisable to get a credit card in your name only to build your personal credit.

Close Joint Accounts

Even if you trust your spouse, you might want to close any joint bank accounts that you have with them before you divorce. This way neither one of you can run up any charges. One person overspending money from a joint account can cause a divorce to be messier and take longer.

Don’t Date Anybody

Although you may feel lonely, it is never a good idea to date anyone until your divorce is final. Even if you are separated, intimacy with another person is still considered adultery until the final paperwork goes through. Infidelity during a marriage may result in the other party getting a larger amount of the assets as well as child custody.

Figure Out Your Post Divorce Finances

Modern marriage is largely a financial arrangement and many people stay in bad marriages for years in order to avoid financial independence. Figure out what you can afford before striking out on your own.

Hire an Attorney

Even if a divorce is amicable, it is important to hire a good California divorce attorney. If a divorce is uncontested, an attorney can help you fill out the paperwork and divide assets.

If you and your ex are going to court, you will need an attorney to help you get the money and property to which you are entitled. Visit Kaufman Steinberg LLP for more information.

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