Steps to Take When Preparing for Divorce
When you’re getting divorced for the first time, there is a lot of confusion. You may not know what steps you need to take to protect yourself, how long negotiations will take, or what to expect in general. We’ve put together some tips about what you should do as you prepare to begin the divorce process.
Logistical Divorce Preparation
Contact a Divorce Attorney
As soon as you know that you are getting a divorce, the first thing you should do is contact an attorney. An attorney will be your biggest advocate through your divorce. Not only will they be by your side each step of the way, but they can help you stay organized and prepare necessary documentation throughout the process so that everything runs smoothly.
When finding the right divorce attorney for you, consider these factors:
- Do you communicate well? You will likely be spending a lot of time with this person, and they will be helping you through one of the most significant events in your life. Make sure that you feel comfortable with them.
- Who do your family and friends recommend? Ask people you know for the names of their attorneys so you can reach out to multiple.
- Cost. Before you choose an attorney, make sure you know how their fee schedule works and ensure that it fits your budget.
Collect Financial Records
The next step is to collect and organize your financial records.
You need to have documents related to:
- Property and real estate
- Bank accounts
It is also important to begin keeping track of what is separate or marital property. Separate property refers to things purchased before the marriage. For example, if you bought a car before being married. Marital or community property refers to items purchased while married. A typical example of this is you and your soon-to-be ex’s first home.
Freeze Joint Bank Accounts
If you are concerned that your joint bank account may be drained without your knowledge or consent, you can request a freeze. If you call the bank and explain that you are going through a divorce, they can freeze the account so that money can only be withdrawn with two-party consent.
Another option for handling your joint account is if you and your ex can agree to split the money and close the account entirely.
It’s important to be aware of the costs of divorce. In 2020, the average cost of divorce was $13,000. Some good news is that if you and your ex are going through an uncontested divorce, it will likely be cheaper and faster.
Save money by:
- Eating meals at home rather than getting takeout.
- Putting a larger portion of your paycheck directly into savings each pay period.
- Download budgeting apps to track your spending.
- Keep a jar for extra coins - they add up!
Emotional Divorce Preparation
While handling all of the above tasks and more, don’t forget to take care of yourself too.
Accept That You Will Feel Grief
When your marriage ends, you lose something that was, at one point in time, very important and special. It is natural to grieve the end of the relationship. Don’t take the feelings of grief as a sign that you made a mistake, but instead understand that it is part of the process of healing after divorce.
Know What You Want
Take time to think about what you need and want during and after the divorce. Write a list of the items that are most important to you, followed by a list of what you are willing to negotiate on. For example, what items from your home do you feel most strongly about keeping? What can you do without? This will help you feel more prepared and in control at meetings with your ex.
Seek Support From Family and Friends
In times of stress and confusion, many people chose isolation as a coping mechanism. Don’t lock yourself away from the world. Talk about how you’re feeling with the people closest to you. These people care about you and want to see you thrive.
Be There For Your Kids
Divorce is not only difficult for the adults directly involved, but also for the children who see it unfold. Make sure you stay in tune with your kids’ feelings, even when it is difficult. Providing them with the support they need can help with the overall transition to the ‘new normal.’
Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys
If you and your spouse have recently decided to get a divorce, HOLLINGSWORTH ROBERTS MEANS can help you get started on the necessary preparation. Contact us today at (888) 211-3888 to learn more about our compassionate team of Indiana family law attorneys. We are ready to advocate for your best interests.