You’ve probably seen this coming for a while. Things have gotten hard, but now is the time to file for divorce. If possible* you should get some things in order before you start the process. Here are 10 suggestions from a divorce lawyer of what can help make your process smoother:
So important it doesn’t even have a number: DON’T PANIC. You can do this.
- Find your tribe: You’re going to need family and friends to help you through this really hard time. You are going to need to reach out to them for support. It is my belief that a strong support network is the most critical part of getting through the process well. If you don’t have a tribe yet, try to cultivate one. What is a hobby that you enjoy? Can you find a club for that nearby? Is there a religious or spiritual place that you may be able to join a group? A divorce support group can be exceptionally helpful too.
- Find a therapist: If you don’t already have a therapist or other mental health provider, you’re going to need one. You will go through the whole grieving process during your divorce, and you’re going to need help. Start seeing the therapist before you file so that you’re already comfortable and have a place to turn if you reach a crisis.
- Find a therapist for your children: If you have children they are going to need therapy. No matter if your divorce is amicable or not, there is a lot of change going to happen. They’re going to need someone to help them through that change process.
- Find the right legal professional: Research and contact some attorneys and/or mediators who look like a good fit for your family. Most should offer a free phone consultation. Do they share the same goals as you (eg: settlement based, family focused)? Are they near you? How are their reviews on Google and Avvo? Trust your gut. If they don’t feel like a good fit then talk to someone else. (Yes, that even includes us. I don’t want someone to hire me if they don’t feel comfortable with me).
- Consult with an attorney: The scariest part of getting a divorce is not knowing your options or what to expect. Having an hour unbundled consultation with an attorney is well worth the cost. They can tell you what to expect, run you through scenarios, and give you piece of mind. You will learn about litigation, collaboration, and mediation. That way you can make a choice that is right for your family instead of regretting your hasty actions later.
- Budget and Plan: You can never run two households the same way on the same income as you did one home. You will need to come up with a budget and plan for how you’re going to afford two homes. Certified Divorce Financial Advisors can give invaluable guidance like budget planning, the meaning of complex financial terms, or how the child tax exemptions are divided.
- Gather your financial documents: You will need to provide each other your financial disclosures as required by the state. This is not all you’ll need to do, but you will want to start gathering the following:
- Last 3 years of taxes
- Most recent bank statements
- Most recent debt statements
- Most recent paystubs
- Most recent retirement or investment statements
- Property records (eg: mortgage statement, tax statement, etc)
- Write out your goals: One of the best ways to have a successful divorce, that has as little conflict and waste of money as possible, is to be clear on your goals. This includes financial goals and parenting goals. See the goals list in my free E-Book on this website and circle what is most important to you.
- Don’t make any major financial decisions! Don’t sell the house because you think you will have to (you might not). Don’t refinance your house. Don’t consolidate bills. Don’t do anything until you’re in the process. We have seen too often that people regret making major financial decisions before talking with professionals. We could possibly help you save your credit and be able to move forward more successfully if you wait and let us guide you.
- Know that you’re going to be ok. This is going to be really hard, we do not deny it. But in a few months or a few years it’s going to be ok. You may even be relived in the long run that you were able to take a new path in life.
We hope to be able to help you move forward in a way that is best for you and your family. Call us today for a free consultation on how you can have a successful divorce.
*There are times that you may need to file right away. If there is violence, or threat of violence, to you or your children, then you should get a protection order and get to safety right away.