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Planning to Divorce? Basic Tips to Consider Before Filing for Divorce

One of the most frequently asked question during a divorce consultation is, how do I begin preparing for divorce?


A divorce lawyer will often respond by saying, "it depends." Each client faces a different set of circumstances, and there is no catch-all response to that question. How you can begin preparing for divorce depends on your family economic and structural dynamics. Do you own a business, do you have a lot of debt, do you have substantial assets and investments you want to protect? Alternatively, do you care more about timesharing with your minor children, do you believe the other party will try to gain majority timesharing or do you want to have majority timesharing with the children? Are you worried that your spouse may claim entitlement to alimony or do you want a divorce, but you are too financially dependent on your spouse to file? Preparing to file a divorce depends on what is at stake for you and your family. Here are three simple steps you can take to get ready for the divorce process:

  1. Pull your credit report- Review a copy of your credit report, make sure you are aware of all your existing debts as of the date of filing, identify their balances and determine what credit cards your spouse will still have access to after the divorce is filed.

  2. Gather financial documents-Make copies of the last four years of tax returns and identify all retirement accounts, savings accounts and other interest-bearing accounts that were disclosed during the preparation of those tax returns.

  3. Identity all financial institution used by either party during the marriage and list all possible accounts held by both parties, jointly and individually. Try to obtain the balances of each of these accounts before the petition is filed and another copy shortly after the date of filing.

  4. Itemize, inventory, and appraise your household content. Take photos of the contents of your home and describe what large valuable items are and the fair market value for each item. Most times, pe