No one comes to the decision to divorce quickly or lightly. Considering the end of a marriage is a tough process, but sometimes it is the right thing to do for your own wellbeing. Once you come to the decision that you need a divorce, you should take certain steps to prepare yourself for the process and set yourself up for success in the future before sitting down with your spouse.
Speak with an Attorney
Speak with an Illinois divorce attorney as soon as possible if you are considering a divorce. Even if you and your spouse are on the same page, you need your own legal advice to ensure you leave a divorce with what you deserve, including property, retirement savings, spousal maintenance, and time with the children. Without an attorney to help you understand the realistic process of a divorce and how to fight for your rights, you could be taken advantage of or end up in a financially devastating position.
See a Financial Planner
Many consequences of a divorce are financial. You will likely shift from a two-income home to a single-income household. If you were not the primary breadwinner, this can be a difficult adjustment. Your monthly income will be lower but your expenses may stay close to the same. By speaking with a financial planner, you can take a look at your potential financial situation, including your taxes the year of the divorce. You might have to prepare for a tax bill when you are used to a refund.
Begin to Separate Your Finances
Most married individuals comingle their finances. They have checking, savings, and credit card accounts together. This gives your spouse access to your income. If you are considering a divorce and are worried about being able to afford the fees, consider opening up a separate checking account and creating a nest egg there. The intention should never be to hide money from your spouse, but you may need the protection of limiting his or her access to your wages. This is one of the many items you should speak to an attorney about.
Decide What You Can Give Up
You will not be able to keep everything in a divorce. Most likely you will divide your possessions between the two of you, which means you have to prepare to give things up.
The major question is: Do you want to keep the house? Whether or not you are interested in keeping the family home will greatly influence your divorce. Many parents who want a significant amount of time with the children want to stay in the home for the kids. However, sometimes keeping the house is the wrong financial move. You may not be able to afford it with one income unless you are able to obtain spousal support. Consider whether you want the house and whether you can really afford it.
Consider Your Children
In an ideal world, you may have your kids all day every day. But unless there is a specific reason as to why your spouse is not a fit parent, both parents will have significant parenting time with their children. Illinois courts focus on helping children have quality relationships with both parents following a divorce. You need to consider how you will develop a fair parenting plan that benefits your children before you file for divorce. You need to mentally and emotionally prepare to divide your children’s time between you and your spouse.
If you are thinking of divorce or your spouse has already filed, call the experienced Naperville divorce attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates at 630-961-0060 for a free consultation. We have decades of experience helping individuals start new, successful lives after divorce.