A divorce is an emotional and difficult process. There are many elements involved, and many decisions to be made. The process can be lengthy, and people going through it may start to feel overwhelmed. One of the best ways to work towards a favorable outcome is to get organized at the beginning of the process. There are certain steps divorcing couples can take to prepare themselves for the process and help it run as smoothly as possible. Considering the following steps can help ease stress and make the transition back into single life less complicated.
Examine the Finances
Finances can be one of the most divisive aspects of a divorce. Many couples disagree about which assets are mutual and which are individually owned. It is important to try to compile this information as early in the process as possible. Having the important documentation pulled together can help prove ownership during mediation or in court and prevent lengthy litigation over who owns what. Some examples of important information to collect are:
- Assets: Anyone getting a divorce should gather a list of the assets they own together. This often includes bank accounts, credit card accounts, vehicles, retirement accounts, and more. Courts normally require a complete financial disclosure from each spouse during a divorce. However, some spouses do not comply, so having this information at hand can be very helpful. Include as much as possible.
- Debt: Debt is an important financial element to make sure divorcing couples have a lot of information about. Joint debts, such as loans and mortgages are important to have documentation for. However, individual debts are equally as important to gather information about to make sure one spouse doesn’t end up saddled with debt they did not create.
- Wage information: A person facing divorce should obtain copies of their spouse’s W2s as well as their own to give to their lawyer. This helps prevent the other party from being dishonest about their income in court. This includes tax returns, as well.
- Create a budget: Divorce may alter the lifestyle of couples who merge incomes. Anyone getting divorced should create a divorce based solely on their income, so they know what to expect when they are living independently. This will also help them prepare to search for housing, transportation, and other necessities they can afford.
- Close joint accounts: Divorcing couples should close joint accounts if possible. This will prevent one spouse from using all of the money in the account out of spite. This is an especially good idea for joint credit accounts, as one angry spouse may have the ability to put both into significant debt.
Begin Building an Individual Life
The sooner someone planning to divorce can begin building a foundation for themselves, the better. There is no guarantee that a divorce will take a lot of time. Ensuring that they will have access to their own money, health insurance, and living quarters can help minimize worries. Some specific examples of steps people getting divorced should take to separate their lives include:
- Getting a bank account: Some couples choose to merge their banking when they get married instead of having separate accounts. Someone getting a divorce should open their own checking account immediately. They should also begin having their income deposited in their new account if their attorney gives them the go ahead to do so.
- Internet security check: A person getting divorced should go through and change their online passwords to new ones their spouse does not know and cannot guess. This includes online banking, email accounts, and social media.
- Get insured: Some people rely on their spouse for health insurance. Anyone in this situation planning to divorce should work towards getting their own health insurance policy. Unemployed or low-income individuals can seek health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
- Revise estate plans: Although some insurance and estate plans cannot be changed until after a divorce has been finalizes, people getting divorced should revise their estate planning documents as soon as possible. This is especially true for people who named their spouse power of attorney or made them beneficiaries. This power can be rerouted to other people that they trust.
- Consider living arrangements: Most married couples live together. If they purchased a home together, they would need to decide which spouse will continue to live in it once the divorce is underway. Couples that have trouble deciding can leave the decision up to the judge. If children are involved, the parent that does most of the work caring for them usually stays in the marital home during the divorce. Regardless, both people involved in the divorce should have possible alternative living situations set up in case they are not able to stay where they lived during the marriage.
Think About Parenting
A divorcing couple that shares young children will need to consider how divorcing will impact their children. Divorce can affect children emotionally and socially, and there are many resources to help them work through it. The parents will need to make plans regarding parenting and custody. Some elements to consider regarding young children in a divorce situation include:
- Making a plan: A divorcing parent should look into Colorado’s custody laws. This will allow them to begin solidifying a plan they can propose to the judge overseeing their case. Such a proposal may include suggestions regarding how much time each parent will have with the children in their care. It may also suggest which parent should have which holidays with the children.
- Track the time: A divorcing parent should consider tracking how much time each parent spends with the children before and during the divorce. This includes tracking quality time, transportation, and more. If one parent fails to see the children often or cancels on them frequently, the other parent may be able to use that as leverage in court.
- Consider support: It is likely that one parent will have to pay child support once a divorce is finalized. Both parents should prepare for being the one paying child support and the one receiving it, because that decision will ultimately be made by the judge. A judge may be able to grant temporary child support to a struggling parent while a divorce is underway.
It is easy for someone to get caught up in the stress of a divorce and forget to care for themselves. This can make the process more difficult and impact their work, their children, and other aspects of their life. Someone in this position should consider seeking help through a counselor if they are able to. Professional therapists can help someone work through the emotional aspect of a divorce so they can be more present for the legal aspect.
We Can Help
The Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C. can help you with your divorce processes. We understand the toll a divorce can take on a person. Therefore, we will fight tirelessly on your behalf to make sure your divorce is as favorable for you as possible. We can help you with paperwork, hearings, settlements, mediation, and more aspects of your divorce to help take some of the responsibility off of your shoulders. Our firm has been providing cost-effective and results-driven legal counsel for over 24 years. Contact us today at (719) 212-4227 or online for a free initial consultation.