Build or reconnect with your personal support system
Having a close circle of family and friends to confide in will be beneficial to you and your children.
Look for a counselor who will act as an unbiased party to help you deal with any emotional issues resulting from the implications of the divorce process.
Gather all tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, real estate documents, and any other financial documents spanning over the last three years.
Start saving money to cover the costs associated with the divorce process. Identify individuals or institutions that may be able to loan you money should you need it.
Photograph and create a document detailing all especially valuable and sentimental items in the home. This will help to prove ownership should items suddenly disappear during the process.
Determine who will remain in the home
Discuss which spouse should live in the home. Be realistic and make sure you are prepared to commit to the custody/visitation plan decided upon.
If your children are 12 or older and mature enough to handle the conversation, ask them what their preferences are
File for Divorce
Once you have decided to proceed, you must file for divorce. Your lawyer will file for you, providing all the pertinent documents.
Be emotionally prepared
Divorce can be emotionally taxing to all parties involved. Be prepared for the worst-case scenarios and false allegations from opposing party or attorney. Also remember that divorce is confusing and emotionally straining to children as well.
Don’t sign documents without your attorney’s approval.
You don’t want to find yourself in an unfavorable situation because you signed something early on in the process. If your spouse asks you to sign something, politely inform your spouse that you would like your attorney to look it over before you sign.
Keep daily records
Record all significant events between you and your spouse and your spouse and your children. Keep in mind; this could be subpoenaed by opposing counsel so be sure to date all entries. To avoid having it used as evidence, begin each entry with “To My Attorney state his/her name).” This will qualify each entry as privileged communication between you and your attorney.
All agreements must be in writing
Any agreement made between you and your spouse should be written down and signed by both parties. If an agreement is made via email, you will need both attorneys to acknowledge the entirety of the agreement.
Prepare your personal financial plan
Organize your expenses and make a plan that outlines goals for your financial independence after the divorce is final. Be prepared for your goals to change as the divorce process progresses.
Report all incidence of violence
Any violence, no matter how insignificant you may think it is, must be reported to the police. Obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order immediately.
Update your financial plan
Now that all financial stipulations have been decided, adapt your previous financial plan to accommodate for any new payments to be paid to or received from your spouse.
Keep a ledger of all checks paid or received concerning your divorce. If your spouse has failed to pay a child support payment, mail them a bill. If non-payment becomes a pattern, contact your attorney.
Seek counseling for unresolved emotional issues
Divorce affects everyone differently. The process and residual effects are emotionally taxing. Speaking with a counselor may help you work through any remaining issues.
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