For most, emotions get in the way of rational thinking during divorce. The decision to divorce is often times based on negative emotions that can cause a person to jump into the divorce process instead of wade in slowly. There are negative consequences to not “getting your ducks in a row” before filing for a divorce.
Just as with any other life altering decision it pays to take your time, learn where you stand financially and align yourself with an advocate to help you protect your legal rights before and after you file for a divorce.
Go with an attorney who has at least 5-10 years experience practicing family and divorce law. I lean towards a collaborative approach during divorce. It is easier and less expensive if you and your spouse are able to settle all issues without litigation.
If that can’t be done make sure you have an attorney who is capable and willing to litigate your case before a judge. You are basically looking for two things…an attorney who knows the value of settling quickly but is also willing to fight for you should the need arise.
You need a clear picture of where you and your spouse stand financially. One of the primary goals of the divorce process is the make an equitable distribution of marital assets and debts. In order to get your fair share during divorce settlement negotiations it is imperative that you know what is owned and what is owed. This is a two-step process:
Some marital assets are obvious. It is clear that the marital home, any financial accounts and vehicles are assets that should be split equitably. Other not so obvious assets may include artwork, pension plans, inheritances or belongings brought into the marriage.
When determining what you owe it does not matter whose name any debts are in. Marital debt will be split based on who is more financially able to pay the debt, not by whose name the debt is in. The easiest way to determine marital debt is to get a copy of your credit report. Any debt you have will be listed on your report.
Spend time with friends, family and your children. Stay close to home, take care of yourself physically and emotionally, attend to your spiritual life and most of all, whatever you do, be above reproach. Behave yourself!
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