Once you have decided to divorce, you are likely to feel overwhelmed and anxious about what comes next. The divorce process can be complicated, and knowing what you can do to prepare ahead of time can help.
Property division is the biggest part of most divorces. Make a list of all marital property. This is property you and your spouse acquired during your marriage, and it will need to be divided.
Generally, property that you owed before your divorce in your name only is separate property and will not be divided as part of property division. Gifts and inheritances are also usually considered separate property.
There may be exceptions to these rules, but that will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.
Make a list of all your marital debts, as well. Obtain current values of marital property and current debt balances. It can help to put all the information into a table or spreadsheet so you have an accurate “big picture” view of your financial status.
Close any joint credit accounts before your divorce begins and open new bank or credit accounts in your name only. If you withdraw any money from the joint accounts before you close them, withdraw only half and place them into your new accounts.
Have a plan for your future
Plan for your post-divorce life. It is probably going to take some time to regain your financial stability, no matter how fair your ultimate divorce agreement is.
Most people cannot easily transition from two incomes to one. Make a budget and develop a realistic plan to sustain yourself financially going forward.
Finally, remember to always act respectfully and politely through the entire proceedings. This is probably going to be harder than you think.
Even divorces that start out amicably can quickly turn bitter and ugly as negotiations begin about things like who is going to keep the house, or who keeps their retirement accounts.
Judges understand that you are going through an emotionally turbulent time, but that does not mean you have permission to yell, curse or treat your spouse poorly, especially in court.
Divorce is usually hard no matter what, and you will face challenges along the way. Having professional guidance is important.