Divorce sucks. It makes you question everything, and the worst bit is that you end up questioning yourself. The emotional rollercoaster often means making mistakes you cannot recover from in the future.
The good news, however, in that whether you are the one initiating the sdivorce or your spouse just shattered your world into a million pieces by springing on you their intention to divorce you, this article aims to guide you on how to get through the early stages of the divorce.
The critical steps to take include:
1. Gather all documents needed
Try as much as possible to assemble all your bank statements, retirement/ investment account statements, tax returns, W2s, insurance policies, loan information, and the documents for your home equity/mortgage line of credit. These documents will give you an in-depth understanding of the financial position you are in. The records will also save you time and money in the Discovery process. To simplify this, always have a running list of the things/ documents you need or the ones missing.
Note that your access to some of the important documents needed during discovery might be limited, for example, if you’re a stay at home mom. If this is the case, you should be ready to do a little more digging. But, make sure you obtain the information legally.
2. Track your expenses
Divorce is financially constraining, and if you’re divorcing your spouse who’s also the one working, you must keep tabs on your daily expenses. Find out how much you spend on toiletries, medications, groceries, personal care, school tuition, clothing, utilities, car payments, extra curriculum activities and everything else you spend money on monthly. It’s also important to be specific about the substantial expenses like vacations. For example, you should get the average cost of the vacation by dividing it by 12.
3. List your assets and liabilities
One of the reasons for the long divorce procedures is the identification and division of assets. Simplify this by listing your cars, boats, investments, home, wine, art, jewelry, antiques or your collector items, then get an approximate value of these assets. If you’re unsure, ask your lawyer to get them appraised for you.
Like assets, you need to know the liabilities in your name. Start from your mortgage (if you have one), then add your credit card balances, home equity line of credit, and all other bills. If you’re not sure, get a credit report.
4. Determine what’s important to you
This is where you determine if you’d like full custody, the marital home if you want to move, as well as your wants listed in order. If you have to find a job, this is the time to send your CVs and to apply for that job you’re passionate about. To start filling out a legal separation document, click here.
5. Find a supportive team to work with
You have to find three critical persons to get through the divorce: a divorce lawyer, therapist, and a certified divorce financial analyst. For the best, find someone you’re comfortable with and one with your best interests at heart.