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How do I prepare to file for divorce?

If you either know or suspect that you may be filing for divorce from your spouse, it is important to take several proactive steps that may help to protect your interests as your situation develops. Many individuals either know or suspect that they will eventually file for divorce, but they choose to put off the process for any number of reasons. Perhaps a personal illness or the illness of a family member makes filing for divorce imprudent at this time. Perhaps a compelling financial reason makes filing for divorce after the New Year a responsible choice. Perhaps you are waiting until the holiday season has wrapped up before you file.

If for any reason you are either undecided about filing for divorce or you simply need to wait to do so, please consider taking a few organizational and practical steps as your situation sorts itself out. For example, opening a bank account and a credit card account in your own name can prove to be useful, whether or not you ultimately opt to file for divorce. These actions will help you to take ownership of your finances and your credit, which can be an invaluable transition in the event of divorce.

In addition, it can be beneficial to speak with an experienced, local attorney about your situation. An attorney will be able to give you certain proactive tips that apply specifically to your situation. These tips may ultimately help you to obtain a fair property division settlement and/or child custody agreement.

Finally, it is important to take a solid accounting of your financial situation. Review your household budget or prepare a household budget if you do not already have one in place. Gather all important financial documents related to your income, assets and debt and organize them so that your attorney will be better able to determine what kind of property split would benefit you most directly.

Source: Forbes, “(Soon-to-be) Divorcing Women: What Are You Waiting For? Here's How To Prepare To File,” Jeff Landers, June 26, 2014

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