Filing for Divorce? Do These Things First. | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

Filing for Divorce? Do These Things First.

Marriages dissolve for an infinite number of reasons, and our team of divorce attorneys hears something new every day. While divorce rates are on a downward trend, it remains a reality for many couples. If your marriage is headed towards divorce, there are several things you should do before filing papers.

Every divorce case is unique based on your family, assets, and much more. Experienced family law professionals and divorce attorneys can best assess your situation and make recommendations. As a general rule, however, these are things that all people will want to do when contemplating divorce.

Understand Your Finances. Whether you pursue a Collaborative Divorce or go through litigation or mediation, one goal for all divorce cases is to equitably distribute shared assets. Protect yourself by having a firm knowledge of both shared assets and liabilities. You should also gain an understanding of the current value of bigger-ticket items like vehicles, artwork, or jewelry.

Budget. Once you have your current financial affairs in mind, take time to plan for life after divorce. Proper budgeting now can save you a lot of financial stress in the future. It is also smart to build a buffer of liquid assets for any emergencies.

Monitor Joint Accounts. This should be a regular activity whether or not you are going through a divorce, but is especially important leading up to one. Protect yourself from a vengeful spouse racking up credit card debt or draining joint accounts. If you fear that this a real possibility, you may consider depositing half of an account into a new one or to closing shared credit card accounts. Before making any decisions regarding money, finances and assets, be sure to consult your attorney.

Document Everything. This will help whether your case may include a child custody dispute or not. A record of interactions as they pertain to the divorce and/or your children will help guide decisions, either from a judge or between you and your spouse.

Seek Support. Divorce is difficult, but there are plenty of resources available. Seek out a local support group, talk to a therapist, or find support books at the library to aid your healing.

Create a Plan for You. Throughout and immediately following the divorce, establish rules you want yourself to follow that will help you stay focused. This could include restricting social media posts, limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption, waiting a set time to date, or establishing new positive routines like regular exercise.

The divorce process continues to evolve, and there are options other than litigation, including mediation and Collaborative Divorce. Finding an experienced divorce attorney can help you choose the right path for your case, and it can all start with a free consultation- email us today!