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What Can I Do Before I File for Divorce to Make the Process Easier

The divorce process can be expensive and stressful. In many cases, couples have some control over the cost and stress levels of their divorces. If you are considering filing for divorce, the following steps can help make the process more straightforward.

Separate Your Finances

You can get a head start on your asset division by dividing your financial accounts yourself. Although certain accounts, like retirement plans, might need to be divided through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, you can take care of your credit card and savings accounts before you file for divorce. Close all joint accounts and move the money or debt into separate, singly-held accounts.

Take Inventory of Your Assets

Dividing your assets will be much easier if you have documentation showing exactly what the assets are and what they are worth. If you are not sure about the current state of your marital assets like retirement plans and investment accounts, work with an accountant to create a clear portrait of your marital asset pool. By taking inventory of your assets before you file for divorce, you can save time later by jumping right into the process of dividing them.

Determine Your Divorce Strategy

Talk to your spouse about how you would like to complete the divorce process. Not every divorce is settled in the courtroom. If you have a relatively amicable relationship with your spouse at the time of your divorce, completing the process through a collaborative divorce or mediation could be an option for you.

Save Your Money While the Divorce is Pending

Getting divorced is expensive, even if you avoid the courtroom. Lawyer fees, bills for outside professionals like an accountant, child custody evaluator, or a real estate appraiser, filing costs, and the cost of finding new living accommodations while taking time off work to attend meetings, depositions, and other steps of the divorce process can quickly put you into debt. Avoid spending money on non-essentials while your divorce is pending so you can afford these costs.

Eliminate Your Marital Debt

If you have a small amount of credit card debt, consider paying it off together before you file for divorce. By eliminating this debt, you eliminate the need to divide it between yourself and your spouse.

If you are facing a level of debt that you cannot easily pay off yourselves, consider filing for bankruptcy together before you file for divorce. There are pros and cons to this strategy, so be sure to discuss it as a solution to your specific case with your lawyer before taking action.

Work with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer

If you are considering filing for divorce, work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through each step of the process and help you make the necessary preparations before you file. Contact our team of experienced divorce lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to set up your initial consultation with us.

Published February 1, 2017
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