If you’re getting divorced, you’re in for a fair bit of work. Not only must you deal with the emotional aspects of ending a relationship, but you must also tackle the related legal issues. Below are the first four steps you need to take with your lawyer when you decide to get divorced.
1. Identify Assets
One of the first steps you’ll take is to figure out what assets currently exist both in regards to yourself as an individual and in regards to the marriage as a whole. Different states have different rules as to how property is split up, so you’ll want to know what you’re bringing to the table and what you stand to lose. Having an itemized list will help you as your divorce moves forward. Identifying and claiming these assets ahead of time may also end up saving you from losing them later on, depending on the rules of the state.
2. Work on Guardianship Plans
If you have a child, you’re going to want to make it clear from the very beginning what your stance is in regards to the guardianship of your child or children. Make sure that you understand what the types of custody are and how they will impact your relationship with your child. Talk to your lawyer about the type of custody agreement you can logically expect and what you might need to fight for going forward. As custody cases can become quite complicated, it’s best to make sure that your lawyer specializes in family law.
3. Choose Mediation or Court
Next, start thinking about what route you want to take for your divorce. If the divorce is relatively amicable or you feel like you can work with your spouse, you may want to try to mediation as a lower-cost and less adversarial approach. If you don’t feel like you can work with your former spouse, though, you’re going to want to go to court. It’s always a good idea to give your lawyer a heads-up on which you’ll ultimately want to choose before your divorce moves forward.
4. Get Your Documents Ready
Finally, make sure that you have all of your official documents ready to sign. A good lawyer will ensure that all of these documents are prepared ahead of time, but you should take some time to make sure that you’re ready on your end as well. Having the right documents ready will absolutely speed along the process and help you to get through the procedural matters much more quickly. This is important if you feel like there may be difficulty getting your spouse to sign the divorce agreements later on, or if you are concerned about getting things finished quickly for other reasons.
Going through a divorce isn’t always easy, but you can make it easier by being prepared. Think about things like guardianship ahead of time, itemize your property, and think about how you want your divorce to proceed. Once you’re ready to make the tough choices, get your paperwork together and start working. What comes next is hard to predict, but tends to work better with the right legal help.