Unfortunately, divorce can be an overwhelming process because there are many things involved in the break-up. There are some emotional decisions that you need to make to leave your spouse. Besides this, there are also many logistics involved once you decide to divorce.
The truth is that it can sometimes be hard to find the best divorce attorney considering that you need to start focusing on checking your finances and even looking for a new home to live in. You must take these steps to make sure that you move on. When you know exactly what to expect in the future, it can be easier to begin working toward what you desire. This post discusses the key things you need to do before you file for a divorce. Getting a divorce in California is different than say getting a divorce in New York – here’s a guide to getting a divorce in California.
Hire an experienced divorce lawyer
It can be less expensive and easier if you and your partner decide to settle your problems without going to court. But if this is not possible, then you need to make sure that you get a divorce lawyer who is willing and capable of litigating your divorce case before a judge.
Ideally, you may be looking at a couple of things like a lawyer who understands the importance of settling quickly and is ready to fight on your behalf when there is a need. Also, it’s a good idea to interview at least three potential divorce lawyers before you choose one.
You should only hire a lawyer who has at least years of experience handling divorce cases. It can also be a good move to opt for a divorce paralegal rather than an attorney. However, if the divorce case requires someone with enough experience dealing with family and divorce law, then you should always hire a Family Law Attorney in Lincolnton, NC.
Organize your finances
It’s also crucial to have a good picture of your finances for both you and your spouse. One of the goals of any divorce process is to make sure that there is an equal distribution of marital debts and assets. Therefore, you can only receive a fair share of these when there is a divorce settlement negotiations, making it important to know all the finances before these negotiations begin.
First of all, you need to determine your finances because there are some marital status that are obvious. Some of the assets that may need equal distribution include your financial accounts, home, and vehicles. There are also some assets that are not obvious like pension plans, artwork, inheritances, and other things that you bring into the marriage.
After doing this, you then need to determine everything that you owe. Regardless of whether or not there is your name on the debts, the funds can be split depending on the person who is financially able to repay the debt. You can get a credit report’s copy to determine your marital debt.
Get credit in your name because it can be pretty hard to buy a car or home after divorce. This is because there are good chances that you may have used the same credit with your partner for several years. This is also the reason why it’s a good idea to establish and build up your credit score.
Therefore, if you happen not to have a credit in your name, then you need to establish it before filing for divorce. One of the best ways you can do this is to get a credit card in your name.
Collect proof of income
Collecting proof of income is another crucial thing that you need to do before you decide to file for divorce. You need to get documents that show proof of income for you and your spouse. If you are both employed, then you should have a copy of the recent pay slip as well as the recent income tax return.
It can be a bit hard to determine income, especially if you and your spouse are not employed. In this case, you can choose to get copies of your bank statements. If you are self-employed, then get copies of financial business statements before you decide to file for a divorce. You should consider making copies of these statements so that you can determine the exact income of your spouse. Remember to gather all the available information you can and your lawyer can collect the rest of the needed information.
Assess joint financial accounts
It’s pretty common for many people to go after financial accounts when they learn about the potential divorce. Some spouses do this because they are angry while others do this after getting advice from their divorce attorneys.
Regardless of the situation you are in, it’s always important to protect yourself. Therefore, don’t allow your spouse to take all the money from your joint accounts that you have together. And, if you are concerned that your spouse may be doing this, then you should consider opening accounts that are in your name. You should remove a portion of the money from your joint accounts and deposit it into your account.
Keep in mind that there is no need to hide it from your spouse, though you should make sure that you don’t overspend it. It’s also a good idea to document every money you spend to help you account for it while in court or during divorce settlement negotiations.
If you have money market accounts, savings accounts, or any kind of investments accounts and you are concerned that your spouse can interfere with them, then you can choose to freeze the accounts. You should remember to discuss with your attorney before taking any action on these accounts.
You should close all joint credit accounts
It’s also a good thing to pay off and even close all of your joint credit accounts before your file for divorce. This is because closing these accounts before a divorce process can prevent you and your spouse from using the accounts and get the charges that you may be responsible for in the future.
Here is the deal, if you fail to pay the accounts in full, then you should consider negotiating with the creditor so that you can pay less money than what you owe on an account. But if you can;t do this, make sure that your creditor gives you a letter to show that the account has been paid in full. A creditor can also offer you a written promise that they may not file anything damaging about your account to the credit reporting agency.
If you fail to pay off the balances that you owe or reach a settlement agreement, it makes sense to freeze the accounts. This cannot only prevent you from using the accounts but it can also help you in the long run. When the divorce is final, then the balance you owe on the account can be taken to the other party the court considers responsible for this debt. The good news is that it cannot affect your credit score if the responsible party fails to pay off the debt.
It’s also essential to inform your creditors about the divorce you are going through. For example, you can tell your creditors about the change of address so that you can keep on receiving bills from all your accounts.
Above all, it’s important to pay all your credit card bills. Remember that divorce proceedings usually take a few months to complete, so one late payment can damage your credit score. It can be worth it to even choose to pay the minimum on joint accounts, though you know it’s the responsibility of your spouse.
Create a post-divorce budget
It can be easy to determine the post-divorce budget. All you need to do is to figure out the exact amount of money that can sustain you when you are divorced. This is a good time to check the expenses of living without your spouse. It’s also worth noting that your income can reduce significantly after this life-changing event. Because of this, you need to prepare by having a good budget now rather than waiting until the bills start piling up and you fail to pay them off later.
This post-divorce budget is like any other budget, so you can begin by estimating all the expenses you are expecting. This can give you an idea of the exact level of income that you may require to support yourself. It’s also necessary because knowing this information may assist you to negotiate the divorce settlement. It can be crucial to understand what you may want financially so that you can figure out your divorce settlement options or what you can ask for when your divorce case goes to court.
It’s always a good idea to wait before you decide to move out of your home. You can wait until the divorce proceedings are complete unless you are in an abusive situation. There are good reasons for doing this. You see, moving out can affect your interest in the property. For instance, if you move out and your spouse keeps on paying the mortgage the whole time while the divorce is waiting to be finalized, a judge can consider this when it comes to distribution of the property.