10 Essential Steps To Prepare Properly For Divorce

10 Essential Steps To Prepare Properly For Divorce

One issue that family lawyers often encounter is a client asking them for help with a divorce, but that client has done absolutely nothing to prepare for their divorce. When we say “prepare” we do not mean that the client has been planning for divorce behind their spouse’s back. Instead, we mean that the client has taken no steps to help themselves through the divorce process.

If you are still unsure what we mean by “prepare properly for divorce”, we have ten essential steps which we believe will help you understand further. Two points of note are that first, this applies to both divorces for married couples and when a de facto relationship ends. Second, the ten steps are not necessarily in chronological order, so the timing of each of them is your choice, other than the first one.

Decide And Then Accept Your Marriage/Relationship Is Over: Your first step is to decide and accept that your marriage or relationship is over. We do not suggest that you make this decision on a whim, but more that acceptance will help you move forward and deal with your divorce, whereas denial will not.

Hire A Family Lawyer: Even if you and your ex are still on friendly terms, and possibly can agree on everything amicably, we still recommend that you hire a family/ divorce lawyer to ensure that you have all the correct advice. Even more so if your divorce is likely to be fractious.

Gather All Your Personal Information: At some point, preferably early on, you must gather together all your personal information, as much of it will either be needed for your divorce or will allow you to move forward with your life. This will be information on finances, insurance, tax returns, what personal items are yours, your medical records, and even who has responsibility and ownership of any pets.

Identify What Assets Are Yours: An essential part of the divorce process is financial calculations, and a key part of that is to identify what assets belong to you. This includes property and land, vehicles, furniture, household items such as appliances, jewellery, and collectibles. Most importantly, you want receipts, bills of sale, registrations, and deeds which prove ownership.

Get Your Current Finances In Order: You need your finances in order as soon as possible and certainly must not wait until the divorce is finalised as that could take some time. Calculate income versus your outgoings and especially how they are affected if you and your ex are now living in different homes.

Find Somewhere To Live (If Required): If you are your spouse or partner can agree that you can still live under the same roof as individuals whilst the divorce proceeds, then great. If not, and you are the one who has to move out, then you want to find somewhere to live as soon as possible, even if temporarily until you find a proper home after your divorce is finalised and the assets divided.

Do All You Can To Keep The Divorce Civil: It will make a huge difference to how your divorce proceeds and to your well-being if you do all you can to keep the divorce civil rather than allowing it to descend into an acrimonious and bitter dispute.

Ensure You Have The Necessary Support Systems In Place: By support we obviously include financial support, but also emotional, professional, and family support too, which will help you cope much better both during and after your divorce.

Allow Yourself To Enjoy Life: Your marriage or relationship might have ended, but it does not mean you have to stop living your life. Your mental and emotional well-being will be much better served if you allow yourself to enjoy both your professional and social life.

Make Plans For Your Future: No matter what stage your divorce is at, it is never too early for you to start making plans for your future. Looking forward is always better than dwelling on the past, especially when the past includes an unhappy marriage or relationship.