There are several components and costs that come along with a divorce. As such, it’s often difficult to find a good starting point.
To help you jumpstart the process before making any permanent decisions, you can consider what kind of setting you’d like to pursue your divorce in. It will also be helpful to begin preparation for the division of marital assets.
Think about alternatives to court
If your soon-to-be ex-spouse doesn’t go ahead and file a lawsuit, then chances are you can keep away from a court setting during the entire divorce process. If you are willing to work with one another to a certain degree, then you can keep the divorce outside of court through mediation or a collaborative divorce.
Through mediation, you can work with a neutral, third-party who doesn’t directly represent you or your ex. Rather, the mediator will help you come up with a settlement that you both feel comfortable signing off on. While a collaborative divorce creates a way for you and your ex to individually seek an attorney. The four of you will meet and work on an agreeable settlement. In both alternatives, if you don’t reach a settlement, then it’s back to square one. Meaning you’ll end up spending the money that you’d hope to save, as you might ultimately have to go to court and seek new representation.
Prepare your finances
Whether you prefer a litigated divorce or not, your joint assets must be divvyed up either way. Thankfully, even before you officially bringing in the help of a divorce attorney, there are ways you can set the stage for property division. According to Nerd Wallet, these are some steps you may want to consider taking:
- Gather any documents that are related to your finances, including bank, credit card, loan, investment, pay and tax statements
- Create a list of all marital and premarital assets
- Note whether your soon-to-be-ex was willing to help you gather financial documents that reveal individual or joint assets, as hiding assets is a common occurrence in divorces
- Keep track of expenses related to upkeep of the household and children to help give you an idea of how much child or spousal support to seek
Since asset division can quickly get complicated, it’s important to get expert help as you need it. But weighing personal pros and cons of divorce via litigation and gathering up documents are both good ways to spend your time ahead of your divorce.