Before you file for divorce, there are somethings you should do beforehand to make this difficult and complicated time go as smoothly as possible.
- Get copies of your financial records and assets. You will have to disclose them in the divorce proceedings and it’s easy to make copies when you still live together. This includes personal and business income tax returns (from the last three years), pay stubs, business records, account statements from investment firms, banks, and pension offices, annuities, life insurance information, credit card statements, stock certificates, and receipts for purchase of expensive items.
- Get a lawyer! Whether you’re planning on divorcing out of court or need full representation, it’s good to have a conversation with someone who knows the ins and outs of the law and can help you avoid common mistakes.
- Do your research – see what forms you’ll need, how to handle custody and child support issues, and make a list of questions to ask your lawyer. Lawyers usually charge by the hour, so don’t waste your time.
- Change all your passwords – bank accounts, social media, cell phone…
- Put your keepsakes like photo albums someplace safe. Divorce can bring out the worst in people and your spouse may make some bad choices out of anger or hurt.
- Don’t destroy things. It will not help you in your divorce. Burning every picture of you together and keying your spouse’s car will only end up hurting you.
- Don’t post about your divorce or your ex on social media. It is not as private as you might think.
- Don’t involve your kids – at least as much as possible. Don’t bad-mouth their parent in front of them or ask them to choose sides. This will be hard enough for them without you making it worse. You can get a therapist who can listen to you vent but keep those feelings from your children.