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Top 10 Things to Do Before You File For a Divorce


Divorce is often a challenging and emotionally charged process. Each relationship is unique, so preparing appropriately before you officially file for divorce is a good idea. Sometimes, one partner may understand how the separation process would go differently than their partner, especially if no prenuptial agreements were signed.

Take These Steps Before Filing for Divorce

It’s essential to ensure you are prepared and informed before filing for divorce. Divorce is a significant decision with far-reaching legal and emotional implications, and it’s crucial to understand the process and considerations involved.

1. Keep Communication Civil

If you’ve considered filing for divorce, you and your spouse likely have had communication issues. Keeping your emotions in check is essential, as staying on good terms with your spouse will help separation go as smoothly as possible.

Avoid discussing the divorce details with your spouse outside of meetings with your divorce litigation attorney in San Jose, and don’t share details with your children. Don’t put your kids or other family members in the middle of any disputes with your spouse, as getting others involved can fuel the fire of emotionally challenging situations.

2. Consult with Divorce Experts

Is divorce right for your situation? It’s helpful to speak with experts with a lot of divorce experience. Before making any decisions about filing for divorce, it’s vital to seek the advice of a qualified divorce attorney. An experienced family lawyer can advise you on your legal rights and obligations and provide you with information about what you can expect from the divorce process.

3. Plan for Financial Changes

Divorce comes with financial separation, lawyer fees, and potentially needing to take time off work when going through the process, so it can be financially stressful. Therefore, it’s crucial to develop a budget before filing for divorce. Review your income and expenses closely with an accountant and determine what you can afford during and after the divorce to help you make informed decisions about child support, alimony, and other financial issues.

4. Find New Living Arrangements

If you plan to file for divorce, consider where you will live before the divorce is complete. If you and your spouse own a home, you may need to decide who will remain in the home during the divorce proceedings, and you may need to consider finding a new place to live.

5. Review Your Household’s Assets

Make a list of all the assets in your and your spouse’s names, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, and personal property, listing as many details as possible: the asset’s estimated value, who has made payments, and when and where you acquired the asset. Reviewing and documenting your assets before you start the divorce process will help you and your attorney establish a plan for the division of property during the divorce proceedings.

6. Ensure Access to Important Documents

Don’t forget to ensure you have access to all your important financial and legal documents before filing for divorce. These documents may include bank statements, tax returns, property deeds, and insurance policies. Your attorney will need these documents to represent you in court properly. If you do not handle your finances or legal matters in your relationship, your spouse may be the only person with access to these documents.

7. Establish Your Credit

If you don’t already have your own credit, you should start developing a credit history before filing for divorce. Open a credit card in your name, use it responsibly, and pay from your own bank account. Getting a credit card in your name is the easiest way to create your own credit history and establish financial independence from your former spouse.

8. Keep Your Online Accounts Safe

In some relationships, one or both partners may monitor their spouse’s online activity, especially when they feel a separation is imminent. Protect your privacy as soon as possible if you suspect your spouse may be monitoring your phone or computer. Review the security features of any necessary online logins, update your passwords, and add two-factor authentication when possible, ensuring you must confirm your identity to access your information.

It is also wise to turn off location tracking on your mobile devices and review access to any security footage you may record in the home you share. Remember that it’s best to avoid discussing the divorce or other sensitive topics over email or text, and you should consult with a lawyer when in doubt.

9. Prepare for Potential Custody Battles

If you have children, custody battles can be emotionally and financially draining. It’s essential to be prepared for these battles and have a plan to minimize the negative impact determining custody can have on your family. Divorce is emotionally taxing and can be particularly difficult for children, so it’s essential to keep them out of the legal proceedings as much as possible. Working with an experienced family law attorney will allow you to develop a custody agreement in your family’s best interests.

10. Find Your Support Network

Ensure you consult with professionals to understand what getting divorced will mean for your situation. Divorce can be emotionally challenging, so it’s essential to be prepared for the emotional rollercoaster that may come with it. After you find an attorney and make a divorce plan, consider speaking with a therapist or counselor to help you navigate the emotional challenges of the divorce process.

Argyris Mah, LLP is Here to Help

Filing for divorce can be complicated and emotional, but finding an attorney to guide you through these steps can help you confidently move forward. We’ll help make the process as easy to manage as possible. Contact Argyris Mah, LLP today to schedule a free consultation about your divorce by calling (408) 214-6366.

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