Divorce can be a complicated and arduous process. After making the initial emotional decision to dissolve your marriage, you also have to think about all of the small details that go along with it. Though the process may seem daunting, it is important to find a good lawyer, examine your finances, and always Keep your cool. Taking these steps will be the only way to move on. Knowing the processes and challenges ahead makes it easier to start working toward the life that you want. Here are important steps to take before filing for divorce:
If you know it's not possible for you and your spouse to settle your issues without going to court, it's imperative to find an attorney who's capable and willing to fight your case before a judge. Finding a good attorney means finding a good balance between someone who knows the value of settling quickly and someone who is willing to fight a good fight if the need arises.
Look for a family law attorney in Orlando who has had at least five to ten years of experience practicing family law. Make an effort to see at least three lawyers before making a decision on the right one. Though it may seem easy to just settle on one lawyer and save the time of having to interview more, keeping your options open is the better idea.
Equitable distribution of marital debts and assets is one of the primary legal goals of a divorce. This makes it very important to get a clear picture of where you and your spouse stand financially. Understanding your finances before a divorce settlement will help you get your fair share during negotiations or trial. While some assets are obvious, other not-so-obvious assets can include pension plans, belongings brought into the marriage, artwork, and inheritances. Putting these together with the clearer assets like financial accounts, vehicles, and property will help you determine the assets involved in your marital union.
Determining your debts can be made easy by getting a copy of you and your spouse's credit report. It likely does not make any difference whose name debts are in, as the money owed will be split based upon who is most financially able to pay them.
Getting a credit card that is only in your name is an easy way to begin to establish credit if you don't already have any. Waiting until after the divorce can make it difficult to purchase a car or home because you may have had shared credit with your spouse for a number of years. Do not overlook the importance of having a good credit score.
It is important to have documentation showing both your spouse’s and your own income. If you both work for other people, it's important to get copies of the most recent income tax return and recent pay stubs. If either of you are self-employed determining income can be more difficult. It will require financial business statements and copies of bank account statements to help you get a clearer picture of income. It can be helpful to get copies of these statements before filing for divorce. And even if you can only get an estimate of what your spouse’s actual income is, having as much information as possible. can help your attorney work to get the rest.
When getting word of an impending divorce, it's not uncommon for a spouse to clear out shared financial accounts. Depending on the situation, this could be done on the advice of a divorce attorney or just out of anger and spite. No matter the case, it's important to protect yourself and keep your partner from having the ability to clear out joint accounts that you share. Opening accounts in your name only and removing half of the funds from joint accounts is an easy way to protect yourself if you believe your spouse might try to take your money. If you take a step like this, document every penny that you spend, so it can be accounted for during divorce negotiations. And try not to spend the money for frivolously, as you may have to answer for it later.
Investment accounts, savings accounts, and money market accounts will have to be frozen to keep your spouse from clearing them out when they find out about divorce. And, don't forget to discuss any of these actions with your attorney before you do them.
Paying off and closing joint credit accounts before separation is the best choice whenever it is possible. This can help avoid either party using the account to run up charges that the other may later be held responsible for. If paying accounts off is not an option, you might consider negotiating with creditors to pay less than what is owed. If a creditor agrees on a settlement amount, be sure to get a letter stating that the account is paid in full with a written promise that they will not file any paperwork about the account to credit reporting agencies. If both of these options are unsuccessful, it is important to freeze the accounts before a divorce to protect yourself in the long run.
Be sure that any credit accounts that haven't been settled are being paid on time. One late payment can affect your credit and divorce proceedings can go on for months.
When preparing for going through divorce proceedings, it is important to be very vigilant about your actions and your behavior. Inappropriate behavior can be used against you in divorce court, so it's always important to be aware of your actions. This awareness is especially important if custody is an issue in your divorce case. Avoid pursuing a new relationship and just try to take some time for yourself until the divorce is finalized. This will make things easier in and out of court.
Seek the advice of a family law attorney in Orlando when you are ready to start the process of dissolving your marriage. We are here to guide you through the process and work to get you the settlement that you deserve.