You had previously taken steps to try to save your marriage. The one-on-one conversations with your spouse, the attempt to reconnect by doing things together and even several sessions with a marriage counselor.
Despite the effort, none of these attempts worked. You decide that divorce is the only option. Now, there are some important steps to take in preparation to end your marriage and start a new life.
Get an attorney, organize finances and take the high road
You already have answered the introspective questions. Now, it is time to take some critical steps to establish your new identity and gain independence.
Here are some important things to do before filing for divorce:
- Retain a skilled divorce attorney: Ask for referrals from trusted people, do your own research and talk to prospective candidates. This will allow you to find the attorney who is not only the right fit for you but one who is knowledgeable, empathetic, assertive and tenacious.
- Review and organize your finances: You want to establish what you are worth and understand where you and your spouse stand financially. Debts may exist, too. Doing this will help determine marital and non-marital assets during the property division portion of divorce negotiations.
- Obtain credit in your own name: This will help you establish your own credit score. Previously, you and your spouse likely had joint accounts and shared credit cards. If you have no established credit, a secured credit card may represent a good option.
- Assemble all tax records: This will help you establish proof of income – both for you and your spouse. Documents should include paycheck stubs along with tax records.
- Review joint accounts and then close them: In some instances, a spouse may plunder from a joint bank account leaving only a sparse amount. You want to make sure this does not happen, but if it does, you will have gathered proof. Also, make sure that creditors know that you are going through a divorce.
- Take the high road: Before the divorce proceedings, you do not want anything you do to become misinterpreted. Remain vigilant about your behavior because courts may view certain actions unfavorably. This may affect time-sharing, and you want to spend as much time with your child as possible.
Taking these steps will help you build a solid foundation based on preparedness and independence.
Prepared and protected
Being prepared also means protecting yourself. Your marriage is over, but your life is not. By getting the guidance you need and adhering to certain principles, you will be on your way to establishing a new chapter in your life.