You have been putting off this subject for months. Couples’ counseling, heart-to-heart discussions and giving each other needed space did not seem to work for you and your spouse. You tried to salvage your marriage, but divorce seems the likely direction.
Since this is uncharted territory, you wonder what you need to do to begin divorce proceedings. Planning and organizing are essential when preparing for a divorce. Gathering important documents and records connected with your marriage, children and spouse represents a necessary start.
Financial, tax and child records
Here are some of the tasks to accomplish in preparing for divorce:
- Assemble financial and tax records: Obtain all tax returns during your marriage. In most cases, the two of you filed jointly. Also, obtain copies of banking and savings accounts, credit card statements, money market accounts, mutual fund accounts, mortgage statements and retirement and pension investments. Doing so will provide a clearer picture of the division of assets.
- Gather vital child-related documents: This is the time to collect medical records including those on immunization and treatments. Also, assemble school records including those on school-related costs. These are needed for child support calculations and play pivotal roles when it comes to creating parenting plans.
- Obtain spouse-related documents: Your spouse may be a business owner, so obtain all his or her business records. If your spouse had scrapes with the law, make sure to obtain police and criminal records, too. Such documents provide some direction related to business valuation, property division, alimony and child custody.
- Seek advice from a divorce attorney: Once you have gathered the critical documents, contact an experienced and empathetic family law attorney. A legal advocate can provide insight, direction and a step-by-step strategy to help you.
Each of these steps is crucial when planning on going through the divorce process.
Maintain a level-headed approach
Your marriage is ending. Now is the time for a level-headed approach in planning for the divorce. You must understand that the main priorities are protecting yourself and your children. By organizing specific documents, remaining as calm as possible and finding the right legal advocate, you will gain some peace of mind.