No matter the exact situation, divorce always becomes an overwhelming process. Even if you and your husband are planning a cordial separation, tensions tend to rise in the courtroom and things have a tendency to get messy. That’s why it’s important that you prepare for the procedure by following these three steps before filing.
- Organize Your Finances
Before the divorce process begins, you’ll want to have a good idea of your financial standing. A good lawyer, will want to ensure that all martial property and debt is equally distributed between you and your spouse. This means you’ll want to determine both what you own and what you owe. Create an inventory list of all shared assets (homes and cars), as well as any outstanding debts (student loans, credit card debt). During a divorce, debts are split based on which partner is financially able to pay off the remaining sum, regardless of whose name the debt is in. The easiest way to gather all this information is to get a copy of your credit report to see any outstanding debts.
Additionally, before you file, you should gather proof of income from both you and your spouse. If the two of you are salaried, you would just need to provide copies of your recent pay stubs, as well as a copy of your income tax return. However, if either one of you is self-employed, you would need to provide bank account information and financial business statements.
- Open New Credit Card and Bank Accounts
In a marriage, finances begin to blend together. You likely have a joint bank account and possibly shared credit or debit cards. If you’ve been married for a while and don’t have credit of your own, you will need to immediately start building up your credit score even before you file. The easiest way to do this is to open up a new credit card and bank account in your name.
- Stay Put
While you probably want to put as much space between you and your spouse as possible, it’s actually recommended that you continue living together until the divorce is finalized. If you move out and your spouse continues paying the mortgage on the house, the judge might determine that you don’t have a vested interest in the property and may distribute the assets in your spouse’s favor. If you absolutely have to move out, continue paying the mortgage and fully document every payment.