In America, 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. In other words, only half of all marriages make it the distance.
Depending on the situation with you and your spouse, a divorce can be an incredibly long and painful event. However, amicable and peaceful divorces are not unheard of.
Regardless of the terms and conditions of your divorce, there are some critical things you must do immediately after filing for it.
If you find yourself filing for divorce, we highly recommend you take these seven steps.
1. Hire a Competent Divorce Attorney
Due to the vast complexities of laws surrounding divorce, the most important thing you can do while filing for divorce is to hire a competent attorney.
In some scenarios, the separation process is so amicable and smooth that a divorce attorney isn’t necessary. However, that can quickly change as soon as disagreements arise over assets, custody, etc.
Having a divorce attorney from the beginning is a good idea to ensure everything works out as smoothly as possible for both sides.
Learn more about types of divorces and what a divorce attorney can do for you before moving any further in the process.
2. Change Your Will
As soon as you know you are filing for divorce, it’s a good idea to start making changes to your will.
While it may sound bleak, accidents happen all the time. Depending on the conditions of your divorce, you may not want your ex-spouse to have any access or privileges to assets in your will in the event of your death.
A divorce doesn’t automatical amend your will to exclude your ex-spouse.
3. Understand Your Financial Situation and Assets
Filing for divorce comes with a lot of changes. One of the most tangible changes is to your financial situation.
You need to immediately start figuring out what your finances will look like once you are separated. This includes mortgage/rent, car payments, and what assets each person is taking.
Additionally, if you own any businesses, you must take steps to protect it during the divorce.
4. Close All Joint Accounts
While redefining your financial position, ensure you and your spouse begin to close all joint accounts. These include checkings, savings, credit cards, stocks and bond, IRA accounts, etc.
This can require especially difficult maneuvering, especially when dealing with a resistant or confrontational spouse.
5. Decide Your Living Situation
Before or immediately after filing for divorce, you need to start figuring out your living situation.
Who’s going to keep the current home/apartment? Can you afford to live by yourself or do you need to find a roommate or move in with friends or family?
It’s pertinent for your sanity and well-being that this is a priority.
6. Don’t Lose Your Integrity
Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges when dealing with a messy and inflammatory divorce is keeping your cool.
After filing for divorce and throughout the entire process, you must maintain your integrity. Be the better person, even if they are being the exact opposite.
Remember, everything you do can be brought up and used against you. That includes any wild nights, DUIs, or any other poor decisions.
7. Discuss Custody Options
One thing to consider while filing for divorce is what will happen to the kids.
Psychologically speaking, divorce can have severely negative effects on children. How you and your spouse handle divorce and custody matters can make all the difference.
Think of the children first. Don’t speak poorly about your spouse or try to persuade them to take sides.
However, you and your spouse must figure out schedules and custody.
Filing for Divorce Can Be the Best Thing for Your Family
As we discussed, filing for divorce can be a very painful and even traumatic experience.
However, it really can be the best thing for your family. There’s a reason people get divorced. If they’re not happy together now, they will probably never be.
Just remember to handle it as professionally and gracefully as possible, especially if children are involved.
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