Initial Steps to Take When Planning for Divorce
The decision to get a divorce is one of the most overwhelming you may ever have to make. Dissolving a marriage is often a complex and difficult process. Planning in advance can help you make choices based on careful consideration and attention to your needs.
When preparing for divorce, especially if you have financial matters to resolve, there are several initial steps that will make the process easier to get through. These are among the most practical and beneficial actions:
- Organize your financial and legal documents — Divorce is document-intensive. As you navigate the division of property, you will need to prove what assets you and your spouse own, how much they are worth, what money is in accounts and who owns how much. You will also likely need to change many legal documents, such as deeds to homes or cars. Organizing and reviewing your financial documents can also help you if you have concerns about your partner potentially trying to move money or hide assets during the divorce.
- Obtain a credit report — In addition to dividing assets during a divorce, you will need to divide debt obligations. A credit report can help give you a full picture of what debts will need to be addressed during equitable distribution. A credit report will also alert you to any debts your spouse has incurred that you may not be aware of, particularly if you are concerned that he or she has been concealing financial activities from you.
- Change passwords — In order to protect your personal accounts against your spouse depleting them without your authorization, you should change passwords prior to initiating divorce.
- Plan out child custody arrangements — One of the most significant decisions to make during a divorce is how you will arrange for custody of your children. For example, how will decisions about your child’s educational and medical needs be made? How will children split their time between households and how much child support do you anticipate needing if you are the primary caregiver? Deciding on these issues early can spare you confusion and anxiety later.
- Hire an attorney — The sooner you consult with counsel, the easier it will be to make informed decisions and act on them. A divorce attorney will answer your questions and assume control of the necessary procedures so that you can focus on personal affairs, like seeing to it that your children are not emotionally burdened by the changes in their lives. An attorney can also help you strategize the process of divorce so that you have a clear path to a satisfactory resolution.
The Law Offices of Jennifer Courtney, P.C. in Yardley has deep experience in guiding spouses through divorce in Pennsylvania. To set up a time to speak with one of the attorneys, please call 215.493.3360 or contact us online.