“I WANT A DIVORCE”
FOUR THINGS TO THINK ABOUT ONCE YOU HAVE MADE A DECISION
“I want a divorce”, now what?
It is common for thoughts to get stuck on all that led you to decide, “I want a divorce”. Now Is the time to think on new things.
1. Think about where you are going
What are you going to do? How will you pay for it? What are my long term plans? Many people file for divorce without thinking through the financial consequences. It is common to see a case where one spouse makes about $60,000 and the other spouse makes about $40,000 and they BOTH think that they are going to continue to live a $100,000 lifestyle. It is even more tragic when the numbers are half of that. It takes some planning to adjust. Especially, if you’ll have to financially support children.
2. Prepare a budget
A realistic budget, that is. While spousal maintenance payments are common during the divorce and possible after, the judge is not going to give you all of the family income; it will be split somehow. The judge is likely to ensure that the mortgage, taxes, and insurance on the house are paid along with the payments and insurance on the cars. The judge will always ensure that the kids have health insurance. The judge is FAR less likely to care whether the credit cards get paid or not, especially if the basics cannot be covered. Scrub that budget carefully. Make two budgets, if necessary; one more generous than the other, but be realistic as to what there is.
3. Prepare for your first meeting with your lawyer
To save time and money, and more importantly, to help your case, you should be prepared BEFORE you visit with a divorce attorney. There are several things to think about, and put your hands on, prior to that first meeting, if possible.
Items to Bring, Try to get the originals (preferred) or copies of the following:
1. Deeds, Deeds of Trust, and notes to all marital property real estate, whether community or separate property
3. Any appraisals of real estate, business or major assets, regardless of age of appraisal
4. Car titles and titles to other vehicles (boats, trailers, aircraft, motor homes, etc.)
5. Closing documents from the sale or purchase of property during the marriage
6. Stock certificates (copies only)
7. Credit card statements (the most recent that you have available)
8. Bank statements (the most recent that you have available)
9. List of credit card debt, including account name, number, and balance
10. Financial account statements (retirement plans, IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.)
11. Any pre- or post marital agreements Save money and time in the divorce process.
Bring as much information to the meeting as possible. This would include:
1. FULL names, addresses, phone numbers and date and place of birth for ALL family members
2. Employment information about each family member, including name address, and phone number of employer and salary/bonus/benefits information
3. Social Security numbers and drivers’ license numbers for all family members
4. VIN or other identifying numbers for all vehicles
5. Account numbers for bank accounts, savings accounts, retirement plans, IRAs, 401(k)s, or any other financial account owned by either spouse, whether or not earned during the marriage (for those accounts that you do not have a copy of a recent statement) 5. Picture of other spouse
4. Have a back-up plan for your back-up plan
You may want to stay in the house while the case is pending, but that might not be possible. What will you do if it is not possible? Where will you go? Can you rent? Stay with relatives? Thinking about your back-up plans Is important.
Although there are other issues to think about when you want a divorce, this should get you started. If you walk into the first meeting with a divorce attorney armed with these items and these plans, you will be ahead of most people. This will lower your costs and make your lawyer more effective for you.
Protect Your Children. Protect Your Assets.
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