Things You Must Do Before Filing for Divorce
Taking the First Steps
If you’re convinced that your marriage is irretrievably broken and you’re headed for divorce, then don’t ruin your case in the heat of the moment. Given the pile of financial, practical and emotional aspects that need to be sorted out, it's not surprising that so many couples wind up making critical mistakes on the road to their liberation. Here are a few things to think over before you file for a divorce.
Seek Expert Legal Counsel
Don’t let your emotions overtake your rationale; reach out for professional legal help to sail you smoothly out of this situation. Get a seasoned legal expert on all the aspect of divorce matters, such as alimony, child custody and support, civil unions and domestic partnerships, legal separation, visitation and parenting time and so on. Choose one who has a client centric approach and credentials.
Understand Your Financial Standing
For equal and fair distribution of marital assets, it is imperative to understand your financial standing. Get a fair idea of what you own versus what you owe to your spouse with a simple two-way approach. First, understand what you own? That includes marital home, vehicles, some sort of inheritance, pension plan and so on and secondly, determine what you owe? List down all the liabilities that you have and remember the responsibilities of clearing the debt will fall into the lap of the one who is capable of paying and not necessarily the one who actually incurred it.
Get Proof of Your Income
If you and your spouse are salaried employees, make sure you have a copy of your recent pay slip and income tax return. However, if either of you is self-employed, then copies of bank account statements and financial business statement will do the needful.
Prepare a Post-Divorce Budget
List down all your individual expenses and child-care expenses (if, applicable) and analyze your spending pattern. Cut out all the unwanted expenses and craft a budget that suits your new life and financial condition.
Make a list of all the joint accounts and all the insurance plan where you have listed your spouse as your nominee, it’s high time to shut down all the joint accounts and file an application to change or remove the name of your spouse as a beneficiary of your financial worth or insurance or term policies.
Revisit Your Will
If you had drawn up a will, the divorce will not automatically revoke it. In case you had willed something to your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, he/she stands to gain even after a divorce. Therefore, it is important to revisit your will and update it accordingly.
Decide Whether to Stay or Move Out
Do not move out of the house without seeking legal advice, as it can weaken your case. The one who stays back and pays the mortgage/rent of the house, until your decision is pending will have an upper hand during property distribution. So, consult your lawyer before stepping out and look out for the ways to manage your survival in the same house.