Many couples come to the decision to divorce together. No matter who begins the difficult discussion, it is often evident to the other spouse that divorce is the next step. If you are part of a couple that is moving forward with a divorce amicably, then you have the opportunity to take some smart steps before filing for the divorce. Being financially and emotionally prepared for the actual legal process of dissolving the marriage can make the process go by faster.
When you and your husband or wife are on the same page, contact the experienced Naperville divorce lawyers of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. and consider taking these steps:
- Review your financial situation. Prior to heading into a divorce, you and your spouse need to have an accurate accounting of your assets and debts, including which of these are an individual responsibility or part of the marital estate. Only once you know the whole picture can you begin to decide how to divide your debts and assets during the divorce.
- Separate your finances. In some circumstances, you should not wait until the divorce is final to separate your and your spouse’s finances. You should also take a hard look at what you and your spouse owe in credit card and other debt. One of the ways to handle credit card debt is to transfer 50 percent of the joint debt onto new cards in each of your own names and close all joint cards.
- Begin saving money for the divorce. Most likely you and your spouse already save money. However, you will both have to pay for court costs and attorneys’ fees during the divorce. If you are preparing to file for divorce, make a concerted effort to save for this future expense. An amicable divorce is often less costly than a contested proceeding, yet it is still better to be financially prepared than left in a tough spot at the end of the divorce.
- Determine your living arrangement. You and your spouse should discuss whether it is important to keep the family home, and if so, who should remain in the house. It may benefit both of you to sell the home and split the proceeds 50/50. However, many families wish to keep the house for the children. If this is the case, you and your spouse can decide who will remain in the house and how you will handle ownership upon divorcing.
- Prepare new budgets. You and your spouse’s finances will be significantly different once you transition from a two-income household to two separate households. You both need to work out an accurate budget based on your own wages. This is necessary to decide if one of you can afford to keep the house, what child support may look like, and whether temporary or long-term spousal maintenance may be necessary.
- Seek independent financial advice. While you and your spouse may be working together to each leave the marriage in a good financial and emotional place that does not mean you should rely on each other’s opinions or advice. Instead, you should seek an independent financial expert’s opinion about your individual finances coming out of a marriage. This is important if you know you will be on a limited budget or if you and your spouse have considerable assets. You should also work with someone who can help you prepare for the tax consequences of the divorce.
- Build your support net. Going through a divorce, even when you and your spouse get along, can be incredibly difficult. You will need to mourn the end of your marriage and be emotionally prepared to move forward into a new life. To do this, make a conscious effort to build your support net. This can include close friends, family, and mental health professionals who are available to listen to you and provide emotional support or help with the children.
Contact a Naperville Divorce Attorney
The steps you and your spouse should take before filing for a divorce may differ based on your specific situation. It is always best to begin working with an experienced divorce lawyer as soon as you know that is the direction you are headed. The attorneys from Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. can help you prepare for your divorce and represent your interests during the proceedings.