If you've reached the end of your rope, and you've decided to file for divorce, make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. You can avoid a lot of stress by taking your time and doing it right. Here are four things you should do before you file for divorce.
Speak to an Attorney
As soon as you know that divorce might be an option, it's time to sit down with an attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you understand the options that are available to you, as well as the best way to proceed with your divorce. Speaking to an attorney doesn't mean that you have to file for divorce. However, should you decide to file, your attorney will be able to facilitate the process. Divorce laws can be confusing. You're going to need an attorney in your corner, should you decide to file for divorce.
Whether you think your marriage can be saved, or not, counseling is an important step in the divorce process. Couples counseling can help you work through the problems that are causing your marriage to disintegrate. However, your spouse will need to agree to couples counseling for that to work. If your spouse won't agree to counseling, you should still seek help on your own. A counselor will be able to help you overcome your own challenges as you move forward.
Gather Your Documents
You're going to need access to important personal and financial records once you file for divorce. The best time to gather that documentation is before you file. Take the time to make copies of all your bank account records, tax returns, and real estate documents. You'll also need copies of any life insurance policies or investment accounts that you and your spouse share. It's important to note that if your spouse has retirement accounts, you'll need to document those accounts, as well.
Create a Safety Plan
If there is the slightest chance that your spouse will turn violent once you file for divorce, you need to create a safety plan. Creating a plan in advance will help you protect yourself and your children – if you have any – should your spouse become violent. Your safety plan should include the emergency contact information for local women's shelters, as well as a safe place for you store items you'll need once you leave. Your emergency items should include the following:
- Small amount of cash
- Change of clothing
- Pay-as-you-go cell phone for emergency use
If you're considering divorce, now's the time to get prepared for the process. Use the information provided here to help avoid problems. If you have other questions or concerns, be sure to speak to a divorce attorney, like one from Cragun Law Firm, as soon as possible.