Be it a day to day task or some important task in life, planning is important. Proper planning helps in making things easy and comfortable for you. Thus, when you are thinking for any legal action such as divorce, planning can make a lot of difference. In fact, good planning is the key to making your divorce process go smoothly.
Planning and checklist go hand in hand. When you have a checklist with you, it becomes easier for you to know where you have gone wrong and what needs to be done. Divorce is one of the most stressful situations in life and with some careful planning, and with the help of a good attorney, you’ll make it through just fine.
Here’s a checklist to help in making the process of divorce as smooth as possible.
Get a lawyer:
Take your time and hire the right lawyer. Choosing an experienced lawyer can be of great help in minimizing the losses incurred after a legal separation. Especially when the custody of your child is concerned, a good and experienced lawyer can be of immense help. When looking for a lawyer, make sure he or she is aware of the laws applicable in the state where you reside. Also the lawyer must be trustworthy as you will be sharing a lot of your person life details with your lawyer. Another important thing is that the lawyer should make you feel comfortable.
As the process to terminate your marriage is a very stressful and emotional phase of your life, it is essential that you must be physically and emotionally fit and healthy. During this time you should take care of yourself. Try to seek the help of a counselor or therapist to help you stay in a functional emotional state to get through the process. This will be of great help to get you mentally prepared and keep your stress levels lower. You can even talk to a close friends and family members so that they can act as your support system for strength and assistance.
Collect important documents:
Before you decide to file the petition in the court, it is essential to keep a track of important documents and financial information that you need to keep organized. Right from real estate papers to any kind of financial records, including tax returns, pay stubs and investments are important documents that will be required during the divorce process. Getting your information together and in one place is a key step in preparing yourself for the legal process. These papers will be helpful for your lawyer to predict an accurate statement of the likely results of your case.
Finance is something that can create a problem. In any relationship dispute like divorce, financial section is amongst the most worrying aspects. As the legal battle can lead to financial losses, both immediate and long-term, it must be given due consideration. You and your spouse must think about the division of the family home beforehand. There can be more complication when the house is financed. There are also other important financial liabilities such as pensions, joint financial savings, tax liabilities from any financial settlements, any jointly owned shares, loans or debts such as bank loans, credit card debts, car loans etc, joint business liabilities. You must also contact each creditor you and your spouse had or still have accounts with and find out how to make sure you’re not responsible for your spouse’s debts.
Try to divide any assets and or debts with your spouse. Before making any final decision regarding division of assets, always consults with your lawyer. Calculate how much your marital estate will be worth. Figure out whether you have the income to support yourself. Check your credit levels and other property values before you begin the proceedings. This will help the judge to establish an equitable division of property and will assist the court in calculating child support and alimony.
Once you have made up your mind to file a petition, it becomes important to think about your future plan. When you will be legally separated from your spouse, you need to take care of yourself. It is important to dissolve all joint bank accounts and credit card accounts and open separate checking and credit accounts. Get a credit card in your name and start using it to build your own credit rating and history. Also get your own insurance. Spend carefully so that with your single income you can take care of yourself after the legal battle is over.
Look for a new address:
It is obvious that after divorce you are not going to stay with your spouse. So, start looking for a new house. During the process, it will be better to stay close in the same locality, especially if you and your spouse have children. Once the divorce is finalized, you can move out from the locality but always consider the feelings of your children before selecting a new place to stay. Also consider getting a post office box as a mailing address, because you may be in transit for a few months.
Think about children:
In any divorce case, children are always given top priority. Children are often the most discussed part of a divorce and can lead to problem and delay in the legal proceedings. Make important decisions regarding any children or other dependents as quickly as possible. Don’t keep your children in dark and try to share things with them regarding your decision to file for divorce petition. Prepare them for the upcoming changes in their life. Get them professional help as soon as possible if you notice any problems. To avoid a fight over child custody, think about visitation or support beforehand. From the child’s perspective it is vital to show that very little has been changed other than the fact that their parents are no longer living together. The children should be told as soon as divorce becomes immanent, but both parents must be present and no blame should be placed on any one parent.
Revise your will:
In case you have already made a will of your personal property and belongings, it is time to revise the will. Don’t wait until the divorce is final to do this. Talk to your attorney about who will care for your property in the event of your death, who will become the legal guardian of your children in case of death, and how your finance will be divided amongst children and so on.
Once you get the order in your hand, it is important to notify your employer, health and life insurance companies, and pension accounts, about your new single status. Contact them during the divorce process to know about the instructions and procedures to make the necessary changes later on. Also you will also need to change your name and your social security name after divorce.
Other Important Points:
Just like child custody, you also need to think about the ownership of your pets. Settling down the issue of pet custody is as complicated as child custody. Also anything that is agreed upon between you and your spouse must be documented in a proper manner and where possible officially recorded. No matter what is the final decision, both parties must have all the copies of important documentation. Lastly, don’t forget to notify all official and relevant organizations of any changes to your circumstances beforehand. This will make things easy for you after the final decision is made.
With the above mentioned checklist, couples will be aware of the important things that need to be considered for a smooth divorce. However, it is essential to remember that divorce should only be considered as a last resort, and only when all other options have been explored and with no positive result.