Almost fifty percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce — that’s a hard fact of life. What was supposed to be a lifetime partnership often becomes a brutal battle of property, custody, and finances.
Filing for divorce is a life-changing decision. It’s not something you jump the gun on. You have to weigh the pros and cons before making the final decision.
While you have every right to pull the plug on your marriage, here are a few essential things you should take in mind before filing for divorce.
Consider a More Amicable Settlement
Before you escalate your divorce to the courts, you might want to settle your dispute through mediation. Mediation is a type of divorce settlement where a neutral third party facilitates the discussion and helps spouses come into agreement. Unlike in bloody court battles, mediation encourages respect and cooperation in the process of conflict resolution. You’ll save more money when you opt for this kind of peaceful settlement. However, not all couples are comfortable in this type of arrangement. But if you can set aside your differences and amicably negotiate your divorce, this is an option you should look into.
Select a Suitable Legal Representative
Choose a lawyer who you think would best represent you in this drawn-out legal battle. You should talk to different lawyers before you decide on a legal counsel that suits your preference. Select a lawyer who will genuinely help you out in your case. Keep in mind, lawyers come with different price tags and levels of expertise, so it’s best to explore your options before making a final decision. Also, don’t make the mistake of hiring the same attorney as your spouse to reduce legal costs. By doing so, you are only setting yourself up for more problems.
Assess Your Financial Footing
Before you file your papers, you must be aware that divorces are quite expensive. For uncontested divorces, you are expected to spend $8,000 to $13,000, which includes attorneys’ fees and court costs. In divorces that involve disagreements in property, child custody, child support, and alimony, your expenses can balloon into $24,000. You should also know that from petition filing to a court ruling, a divorce can last for 12 months, which can eat up a significant chunk of your finances. If you’re determined to call it quits with your spouse, set aside money for emergencies and pertinent needs, so you won’t have a hard time once the proceedings commence.
Complete Ongoing Transactions
Once your divorce is in the works, you’ll be prohibited from selling your joint estate and from making major purchases. That is executed by the courts to prevent couples from misspending their marital assets and joint finances during the whole course of the divorce. If you have ongoing property transactions, finish them up first before filing a petition. However, if you have no plans whatsoever, keep your hands off your joint estate. There’s no need to squander your marital assets out of resentment.
Collect Important Documents
Accomplish all the necessary documents before throwing in the towel. You have to collect proofs of income in the form of payslips and income tax returns. If you or your spouse is self-employed, you can secure each other’s bank account statements instead. Financial documents regarding mortgages and automobiles are also crucial in divorce cases. Whatever information is currently accessible to you, secure copies of it. It’s also advisable to store cloud files of these documents just in case your spouse decides to hide or tamper with the necessary paperwork.
Avoid Decisions with Legal Setbacks
If you want to come out on the winning end, you have to be careful with the decisions you make leading up to the filing and especially during the entire divorce process. Even if you don’t live under the same roof, you are still legally tied to your spouse. Entering romantic relationships pose potential risks to your divorce settlement. Being caught in entanglement can affect your custodial rights and parenting time. Some judges don’t allow children to be in the presence of new partners, especially during the early stages of divorce. Moving in with a new partner can also make an impact on the spousal support you receive after the divorce. So, be smart with every decision you make to avoid legal repercussions.
For you to achieve the best possible outcome, you have to employ these six strategies before handing over your divorce petition. Indeed, these pointers will prepare you for the tumultuous battle you are about to embark on.