Orlando Divorce Attorney Discusses Five Things to Do Before Filing for Divorce
Divorce is a difficult and emotional decision. If you’re contemplating a divorce, there are a few things that you should consider doing prior to filing for divorce to make sure that you are protected while going through the process. Below are five steps that you should consider before filing for a divorce. While these steps do not apply to all individuals, it is a good idea to consider them and review your own situation to help protect your rights.
1. Be Sure you Want a Divorce
Experienced divorce attorneys want to ensure that their clients are committed to the divorce process before filing. Starting and stopping a divorce wastes your time, money, and effort, so it is important to make sure that you are committed to the process. I often ask clients, “is your marriage in the emergency room or the morgue?” Basically, you should be positive that you want a divorce before filing. If you’re not sure, then you may want to consider marriage therapy or couples counseling and make a good faith effort to save the relationship. However, if you know that you want a divorce, then seek the advice of an experienced divorce attorney and protect yourself during the process by following the steps below. It is important to note that if your spouse no longer wants to be married, there is nothing you can do to stop him or her from filing for divorce, but you should not wait until being served with divorce papers before seeking the advice of an experienced divorce attorney.
2. Gather your financial documents
The majority of your divorce case will be centered on your finances. It is a good idea to make copies of all of your important financial documents from your marriage for the past three years. These documents include your tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, retirement account statements (401K, IRA, TSP, or Pension Plans), life insurance statements, and any other documentation of assets and liabilities. Make copies of these documents and store them in a safe place that your spouse cannot access. If you do not have a safe place to store the documents, open a safe deposit box at a separate bank. However, make sure that you do not destroy or hide original documents.
3. Get your finances in order
A divorce can be a trying financial time. It is important that you protect yourself and ensure that you will be financially stable during the divorce process. First, make sure that you have cash or credit available to pay for attorneys’ fees and living expenses throughout the divorce process. You may want to consider opening a credit card and bank account that is separate from your spouse, so that you have access to your own funds should it become necessary.
4. Put Irreplaceable items in a safe place
It is always a good idea to make sure that irreplaceable items are secured in a safe place prior to filing for divorce. If something irreplaceable is lost or destroyed, a judge can only order monetary compensation for irreplaceable items. Once an item is destroyed, it is lost forever, so be sure to place any irreplaceable items in a safe deposit box or other secure storage facility. Be sure to disclose these items during the divorce and let your attorney know that you have placed the items in a secure place for protection.
5. Find the best divorce attorney for you
Research several family law attorneys to find the best divorce attorney for you. You should also consider reviewing the article How to find the best divorce attorney when deciding whether an attorney is the proper fit for you and your divorce case.