“I want to get a divorce, but I don’t know where to start” is an extremely common statement I hear. With the new year approaching, many people may be going through a separation and considering divorce, but do not know what steps to take. To help guide the process, I have outlined five (5) steps I suggest taking if you are considering a divorce.
- Gather your financial documents: I suggest collecting your most recent tax returns, paystubs and account statements including bank accounts, credit card accounts and any investment or retirement accounts you may have. Having all this information together will not only help you get a better understanding of where you stand financially but these documents will also help your legal team prepare your case strategy. If you do not have access to your financials or do not feel comfortable asking your spouse for this information, do not worry, there are numerous ways for your attorneys to obtain this information for you through the divorce process. Get whatever information you can access, and your attorney will guide you on obtaining the rest. If you would like to read more about gaining access to your financials in a divorce, please see our previous blog here.
- Consider your living arrangements: Although no final decisions need to be made, it is worth spending time contemplating where you would like to live once the divorce is done. This is especially important if you and your spouse have children. Having an idea of where you would like to live once divorced, whether that be staying in your current house, selling your house, moving across town or moving to another state, your preferred living arrangements will affect how your legal team approaches your case.
- Build your team: A divorce can be difficult, so I always suggest building a team to help support you through this process. Your team can include your support system, including friends and family, your legal team, who will help guide you through the process and perhaps even a therapist, who will help keep you centered during this difficult time. There are ups and downs in every divorce and having people around you that you can lean on, and trust is essential.
- Maintain the status quo financially: Although your instinct may be to build a nest egg separate from your spouse or run to the bank to withdraw a large sum of money, it is important to not make any drastic financial decisions leading up to your divorce. You will always want to consult with your attorney if you are considering deviating from the status quo that you and your spouse have created during your marriage. Making sudden drastic financial decisions could not only exacerbate the relationship between you and your spouse, but such decisions could also open yourself up to potential intervention from the Court which could restrict all financial decisions until a divorce is finalized.
- Take a deep breath: Even after you make the difficult decision to proceed with a divorce, the day you hire an attorney or officially file for divorce can be very difficult. These acts make a decision you likely contemplated for months, if not years, a reality. We understand that divorce is never easy and we, here at Reed, Centracchio & Associates, LLC, want to be here to support you and guide you through the process. Therefore, if you have made the decision that a divorce is the best option for you and your family, then all that is left is to take a deep breath and move forward.
If you feel you are ready to proceed with a divorce or if you have any questions about the divorce process, please feel free to contact the team at Reed, Centracchio & Associates, LLC.