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8 Practical Steps to Prepare for Divorce

Going through a divorce can be messy, both financially and emotionally, so doing everything you can to prepare for the process can help save you and your family unnecessary stress and hassle. Follow these steps to take stock of your finances, know which steps you need to take to move forward and make the divorce as quick and painless as possible.

1. Gather Financial Records

Take stock of your finances and organize all of your records pertaining to any shared or personal accounts. Be sure to collect bank statements, investments, property documents, tax returns, payroll stubs, benefits information, or any other important documents. Keeping your own records of everything will help speed along the divorce process and can protect you in case any record is disputed. Make copies and have one in a safe or at a trusted family member or friend’s house for safe keeping.

2. Save for Professional Fees

Cut expenses, budget, and prepare to pay for your divorce. In the best possible outcome, you will end up with a fair divorce when all is said and done, but there are plenty of fees you will need to prepare for before the divorce is finalized. This includes legal fees, the cost of financial advisors, additional fees regarding childcare while you and your ex-spouse are in court, and any counseling or therapy fees for yourself or your children.

3. Open New Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

If you and your spouse shared joint accounts, it’s a good idea to open bank accounts and credit cards that are only accessible by you. This will help you protect your money, keep track of any earnings or expenses following your decision to divorce, and can help prepare you for your new life after divorce. Make sure any direct deposits are transferred to your new account.

4. Monitor Your Credit Report

Print out your credit report for your records, and monitor it throughout your divorce. If you have any outstanding issues, handle them as soon as you are able, and pay close attention to any possible changes. If anything comes up on your credit score that seems suspicious or concerning, contact your lawyer.

5. Change Your Will and Medical Directives

Chances are your spouse was in your will and was given authority financially and medically if anything were to happen to you. Contact your attorney and go over your estate plan, will, medical directives, and any other relevant documents to remove your ex-spouse. Be sure to name a trusted family member or friend with medical and financial power of attorney, should anything happen to you.

6. Take Inventory of All Assets

Whether they were shared or individually owned, take stock of everything you own. Evaluate what you owned jointly or invested in once you were married, and what you owned on your own. Your individual assets are typically things you owned prior to marriage, inherited, or anything that was given solely to you. Take photos of your possessions (jewelry, heirlooms, etc.) and keep any relevant documentation or receipts.

7. Professional Help

Seek professional help for your divorce. No matter how self-sufficient you are, divorce is complicated, and having professional advice will not only make the process easier and faster, it will likely save you money in the end. Also consider seeking professional help to maintain a healthy mental and emotional state. Family and friends are invaluable and it is a good idea to go to them for support, but an unbiased opinion can be invaluable, so consider seeing a therapist.

8. Stay Healthy

Do not underestimate the importance of your healthy. Divorce isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, one in which you need to be healthy and resilient in order to finish strong. Make sure to exercise regularly and eat healthy foods, studies show a healthy lifestyle can improve your ability to improve your mood and stabilize your emotions. Prioritize time with your family and friends, and allow yourself time to let go and relax whenever you can.

Contact Hollingsworth Roberts Means, LLC Attorneys at Law to discuss your divorce today.