The end of your marriage is a very emotional and stressful time, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared. If you have already come to terms with your marriage ending, then it is time to think smart and prepare for divorce before you actually file. Don't forget to do the following things before you officially file for divorce.
Get Your Finances in Order
One of the first things you should do before filing for divorce is figure out where you are financially. If you are employed and earn your own money, look at what you earn on your own and your own savings. This can help you decide on how you will support yourself when you are on your own. If you have children and intend to try to get custody, factor in the costs of raising them as well. You may get child support from your spouse, but right now, don't count on that. Just look at your own finances. If you do not work, you may be able to get spousal support, so keep that in mind.
When looking at your finances, you also want to look at what you own and what you owe. Do you have your own vehicle? Does it have a loan that is not yet paid off? Look at your own personal property and assets, and what debt you still have.
Gather Your Documentation
When you begin filing for divorce, there are certain documents you will need. The first is your proof of income, whether you get a paycheck every two weeks, are self-employed, or earn unemployment benefits. You should make copies of your most recent income tax return and your pay stubs. If you are self-employed, the tax return and your bank statements should be enough. You will also need to provide proof of ownership of assets, and that you owned them before the divorce. If you don't have this information, you risk losing some of your possessions during the divorce.
Establish Your Own Credit
If everything is in your spouse's name, now is the time to start establishing credit. Even if you are still living at home with your spouse, get a credit card in your name only. Start using it regularly, but don't overspend. You want to establish good credit without soiling your credit score. Make small purchases throughout the month and pay the balance in full every month. Your credit score will start going up as long as you make these payments on time. You will need credit if you intend to get your own apartment or house, buy a car, or get a line of credit for another reason.
Open Your Own Bank Account
Another thing to get in your own name is a bank account. If your only bank account is one that is in your spouse's name, open an account in your name, and start depositing your money into that account. Deposit all cash, paychecks, and self-employment income you receive into your account, and let your spouse only deposit their money into the other account. That way, you don't have to worry about them trying to empty the bank account during the divorce proceedings.
Hire a Divorce Attorney
It is never too early to hire a divorce attorney. Start looking at attorneys in your area and interviewing them. There will be at least one that you feel more comfortable with, which is always a good sign. Let them know you are in the process of filing for divorce, and they will give you advice about what your next steps are. You can visit Metropolitan Lawyer Referral Service Inc to find a divorce lawyer.