Divorce is never an easy decision for married couples. Not only is there the emotional weight of separating from a partner after years together, but new challenges of managing the legal logistics that come along with the divorce.
Separated couples may be overwhelmed with their new reality, trying to find housing, figuring out their finances, or hiring an attorney to best represent their interests.
In an ideal situation, former spouses might be able to divorce without any litigation, but not every situation is ideal when it comes to divorce. According to Brides, there are things that separating partners should do before filing for a divorce.
What to do before filing
Many of the other necessary work to be done before filing for a divorce often involves finances.
- Where do you stand financially? Understanding your own finances is vital before proceeding with a divorce. That doesn’t just mean your own income, but figuring out marital assets and debts. Where a couple that's getting divorced stands can be partly determined by obtaining a copy of their credit report.
- Proof of income. Collecting your own documentation of your income, whether that’s recent pay stubs or your most recent income tax returns.
- Establishing credit in your own name. You might be looking to purchase a new home or car after divorcing your spouse, which could prove to be difficult if you shared credit with your former partner over the years. Establishing credit in your own name is one of the simpler things that can be done before a divorce.
- Evaluating joint financial accounts/Closing credit accounts. It’s not uncommon with an impending divorce for spouses to become adversarial. To protect yourself from a spouse who might empty a joint account, the best tactics would be to document every penny or take half of the funds from the account and move them to a new one in your own name. It’s also best to pay off and close all joint credit accounts to keep both you and your spouse from running up charges during the divorce.
- Setting up a post-divorce budget. Creating a budget to keep tabs on your income and monthly expenses will prove helpful to evaluate and negotiate your divorce settlement options.
Should you stay or should you go?
Besides the financial impact of a divorce, there’s also the decision of whether to move out of your home until the divorce is finalized or stay there. Although you might be ready to move out and be separated from your partner, moving out could impact your divorce case.
If you move out and your spouse is the one making the monthly mortgage payments, a judge may factor that into any decision they make regarding the property. If you do move out and continue to pay the mortgage, make sure to document your payments.
Setting an example
Your behavior will also be scrutinized before and during divorce proceedings. Although divorce is a process rife with emotion, modifying your behavior in and out of court is important, especially when it comes to child custody.
In the state of Illinois, the average cost to file for divorce is about $300. At a minimum, a divorce can be finalized in around 30 days. The legal issues involving divorce can oftentimes be more costly, complicated, and take much longer than what’s expected, however.
By far one of the most important aspects of any divorce case is making sure you have an attorney who will represent you before a judge and fight for your rights during divorce proceedings.
An attorney who represents your future
Courtney Clark Law, P.C. in Belleville knows that the financial, legal, and personal challenges of a divorce add up to what seems like an insurmountable wall. With our law firm’s decades of legal expertise in divorce, we’re up to the challenges presented by the divorce process.
Our family law attorneys will develop a workable solution for your future that meets your needs and goals, guiding you through the divorce process every step of the way. Contact us now to set up your free consultation.