If you are starting the new year with plans for a divorce, there are a few things you should do.
- Gather tax information for the last 3 years including income tax returns with supporting documents, property tax bills, and the last pay stub for each year.
- Gather bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage statements, life insurance policies, 401(k) and other retirement plan statements
- Interview more than one lawyer to find the firm that is a good fit for your needs. Often, two people with lawyers can get a divorce accomplished more quickly and at less cost than people who are unfamiliar with the law.
- Confirm what health insurance will cost for the future with COBRA or other alternatives.
- Do not take your spouse or children off of any insurance policy until the divorce is completed.
- Set up an email account that only you can access.
- Utilize two factor identification as much as possible for online services.
- Take steps to be confident that joint assets won’t be depleted by one party.
- Understand that no one has to move out while the divorce is going on. It is generally better to stay in one household unless there are domestic violence concerns.
- Your spending will be scrutinized. Do not spend money that you cannot account for clearly.
- Set up alternative parenting schedules and practice them now.
- Consider counseling to navigate the divorce process for you and your children.
- Do not use social media as a way to express your personal life details and instruct your family to avoid social media discussions about you and your family.
- Give serious thought as to what is in the best interests of the children. While there may be a financial benefit to one parent having more parenting time than another, really consider what is best for the children.
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