Though it is an unpleasant experience for everybody involved, sometimes divorce is better than the alternative, which is staying in a marriage that is no longer working. There are many things that you need to consider when you are getting a divorce, and these are some of the most important.
Find an experienced lawyer to handle your case. Do not be tempted to stick with the first lawyer you see. Ideally, you should interview at least three divorce lawyers before you make your decision. Choose one with considerable experience in handling divorce cases. If you know anyone who has recently been through a divorce and is happy with the settlement, then feel free to ask for a recommendation. Your lawyer will try to arrange the divorce without needing to go through the process of litigation, as this will be easier and cheaper, but if necessary, they should be prepared to represent you in front of a judge.
You may be considering whether you should move out of the family home. While this may reduce stress for you, your spouse and any children, it is rarely a good idea when it comes to your divorce settlement. Unless there is abuse taking place, you should remain in the home. This will mean that you still have an interest in the property, and are more likely to be able to maintain custody of your children. If you do feel the need to move out, keep up your share of the mortgage payments and make sure that this is documented.
This may sound silly to some people, but make sure you are behaving well. In a divorce case, especially if there are children involved, everything you do will be scrutinized. Don’t stay out late or ignore the children, and certainly don’t start dating until the divorce is finalized. Be a good parent to your children – spend time with them – and you are more likely to retain custody. Your children are bound to be confused and upset by what is going on, so talk to them and ensure that they understand the situation. It is stressful and worrying for them, too.
Sort out your finances. There are lots of documents that are required for this, so make sure you have copies of them all. Don’t get into any more debt, as this can have an impact on how the finances are split in the final settlement. Make sure your lawyer is aware of all your assets, including pensions and investments.
- Establish a credit record. If you have had joint bank accounts and credit cards throughout your marriage, then you may not have much credit history. Apply for a credit card in your own name and use it to pay for your essential purchases, such as food or fuel for the car. Pay off the bill each month to establish your own credit history, and do not make the mistake of spending more than you can afford, as this will be detrimental to your efforts.