Preparing for a divorce is never going to be a pleasant experience, but there are a number of steps that you can take to make it easier for yourself and everyone else who is involved. Though you may not want to think about these things, it is important that you do so before the divorce is finalized.
- Get all of your paperwork organized. This may sound easy, but it is only once you start collecting it all together that you realize just how much there really is. Everything regarding your income and financial situation is important, including bank and credit card statements, loan and mortgage documents – they will all be needed. If you have copies of your tax returns for the last few years, these will also be useful. These may be in your own name or joint accounts with your spouse, but they will all be taken into account during the divorce.
- You are in control of your finances. If you have a poor credit score, then you should start to sort this out while you are still married, so start to pay off any debts as soon as you can. This will help to remove any bad points from your credit history. If you don’t have your own credit record (which may be the case if everything has been in joint names since you married), then you need to establish one sooner rather than later. The easiest way to do this is to apply for a credit card in your own name, and use this for your regular purchases, such as food. Then, make sure you pay it in full each month.
Open your own, personal bank account. If you are employed, have your salary paid into this, rather than an account that you hold jointly with your spouse. This ensures that you are in control of your money and that nobody else has access to it. It is also important that you do not take out any loans, refinance your home, or get into any further debt, as this will complicate matters when it comes to sorting out the finances regarding your divorce settlement.
If you are not currently employed because your spouse has been supporting you, it is necessary to consider what your income will be after the divorce. You may need to look for a job, as you cannot rely on receiving alimony for the rest of your life – in fact, it may not be paid at all. If you have not worked for some time, then it would be advisable to get some up-to-date training before your begin your job search.
- However tempting it may seem, moving out of the family home is rarely a good idea. It can mean that you are less likely to be able to keep the house as part of your divorce settlement and it can have a bearing on who gets custody of any children. If you move out and leave the children with your spouse, you are highly unlikely to be awarded sole custody.