Planning for a Divorce

Planning for a Divorce

As we have previously discussed, divorce filings increase dramatically in the months of January and February.  Many people are considering a divorce in the new year now that the holidays are behind them. There are several things you should do to prepare for an impending divorce.  The following will help you plan step-by-step for your divorce.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

You would not believe the number of people who meet with their divorce attorney and have no idea about their financial status.  Take this opportunity to learn about any prenuptial agreements that may exist.  Learn about your household budget.  What are your monthly payments?  Learn what assets you and your spouse have both individually and together.  Research whether there are investment or retirement accounts. Research the value of those assets.  The property valuation administration and Kelly Bluebooks are excellent resources.

GATHER YOUR PROOF

Take this opportunity to put together as much documentation as you can.  Gather bank records, investment/retirement account statements, credit card statements, deeds, titles, and insurance policies.    You can find a more detailed list of things to bring to your first meeting with a divorce attorney here.

Although your attorney can usually get these documents during the litigation, it can be much more costly and time consuming to do so.  If you gather them ahead of time, it may save you significantly on your fees.  Moreover, when your attorney is properly armed with the necessary information, it increases the chances that the case may be able to be settled sooner rather than later.

Documentary evidence is not the only type of evidence you can gather.  If there are children involved, you should immediately begin keeping a parenting journal.  Keep photographs, education records of children, and information on each person’s medical history (including the children).

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

The five stages of grief are a real thing.  You will be going through them at a different rate than your spouse and your children.  Going through a divorce has been equated to the stress of close loved one dying or losing a job.  The grief and stress of the process requires you to pay special attention to your own mental health and wellbeing.  Further, your children may need assistance dealing with issues of the divorce.  Your attorney should be able to make a referral for you to a qualified mental health professional.

You also need to be aware of your physical safety and that of your children.  Kentucky has in place statutes specifically providing for the protection of victims of domestic violence.  Most counties have a twenty-four hour protocol in place so that you can seek that protection at any hour of day or night.

While it is nothing anyone enjoys thinking about, with a little planning you can get a new start without starting over.

Photo courtesy of babi krishna

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