If you’ve decided your marriage isn’t working, you’ve probably considered divorce. For many couples, pursuing divorce is the right thing for all parties involved, especially children. But the process of divorce itself is far from simple. From divvying up assets to figuring out who’s going to get custody, there’s a lot that goes into divorce on the legal level. You’ll have to sign a ton of paperwork, enlist a lawyer, and make a lot of tough decisions that are bound to hit you where it hurts. That’s why having a clear head through all of it can help you set yourself up for a stress-free divorce and put you on good (or at least better) terms with your ex. It’s not enough to have family law explained: You need to know the personal, emotional stakes of the case as well. Before you contact a family law chesterfield practitioner, here some things to consider.
1. Your Financial Situation
During an especially painful divorce, money is probably going to be the last thing you want to think about. Unfortunately, dealing with your personal finances is a must in the first stages of divorce proceedings, as any lawyer will tell you. Even if you’re on amicable terms with your spouse, it’s important to get copies of any bank statements, tax filings, and credit card statements you can for your own financial protection. If you have a joint bank account, you’ll want to account for your own purchases as well as your spouses’. Even for accounts you don’t have anything to do with, such as a single-payer mortgage or an IRA. It’s smart to keep tabs on everything so you can present the clearest possible picture of your shared assets. Don’t forget to factor in savings accounts, investments, and even trust funds for the kids. If you have something of value, chances are it’s going to come up in divorce court.
2. Your Housing Situation
When it comes to your divorce, one of the biggest questions in terms of material assets is going to revolve around the ownership (or mutual sale) of the house. You’ll need to figure out who gets to keep the house should anyone want to keep it, and in the case of an ugly split, you’ll have to prove joint ownership regardless of who was paying the mortgage. If you have children, don’t forget to factor in the value of the home when it comes to deciding to keep vs. sell. Even if the sight of your home brings back painful memories, remember that your family home is an asset and can eventually be part of your child’s inheritance. If you’re the one who’s moving out after the divorce process, factor in your hotel bills when presenting your case to a lawyer.
3. Your Will
You might not want to think about re-writing your will just yet, especially if you’re a young divorcee. However, the reality is that life is unpredictable, and if you’ve made up your mind to end your marriage, you want your will to reflect the current reality. Keeping your will as it is could end up hurting your kids or gifting your ex-spouse all your assets should something happen to you. Even though it might seem spiteful or “too soon,” the sooner you change your will, the sooner you’ll be able to file it away and forget about it until much later.
4. Your Support System
Even if you and your ex-parted on okay terms, divorce is a painful process. If you don’t have your emotional support system in place, you could be left to deal with the damage all by yourself. Before you decide on divorce, talk to your closest friends and family members and let them know about your decision. Tell them that you may need to reach out more than usual, and feel free to ask them to spend a bit of time with you following the breakup, even if it means moving in for a little while and helping with basic chores and childcare. There’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, the more help you have from friends and family, the better equipped you’ll be to deal with the painful reality of lawyers, legal fees, and split assets.
5. Your Future
Most importantly of all, you want to think about your future before deciding on divorce. Making a decision this heavy is hard enough. If you don’t take the time to think about the steps you’re going to take to start your new life on the right foot, you could easily talk yourself out of calling things off. Don’t let a fear of the future stop you from pursuing what’s right.