Dealing with a divorce can be an extremely arduous and overwhelming experience for anyone. Whether it was your idea or your spouse's, taking appropriate and proactive steps to safeguard yourself and your future is essential. If you're preparing for a divorce, this article will provide an overview of the most critical things to do to protect yourself when getting a divorce.
1. Gather Relevant Documents
The first thing you should do when getting a divorce is to gather all relevant financial documents. These documents include bank statements, tax returns, credit card statements, investment accounts, and other financial records. Start by creating an inventory of your assets and liabilities, including bank, retirement, investment, and real estate accounts. Determine your monthly expenses, including your mortgage, utilities, food, and other bills.
Make copies of estate planning documents, such as trusts, wills, and powers of attorney. These documents can significantly impact the outcome of the divorce settlement, particularly regarding spousal support, child custody arrangements, and division of assets. Your financial documents will come in handy when working with your divorce lawyer to negotiate a settlement and gain an understanding of your financial position.
2. Safeguard Your Credit
Speak to your divorce lawyer about closing joint accounts with your spouse and opening new accounts in your name. Doing this will ensure your spouse's financial decisions don't affect your credit score. It's also vital to monitor your credit report and dispute any inaccuracies that could affect your credit score.
3. Prepare for Negotiations
Negotiating a divorce settlement can be an intricate and emotional process. Start by developing a clear understanding of your priorities and goals. Focus on strategies like winning an equitable distribution of assets, custody of your children, or financial support.
Work with your divorce lawyer to create a strategy for negotiating a fair settlement that aligns with your goals. Being prepared to compromise and remaining flexible throughout the negotiation will lead to a successful outcome.
4. Agree on a Custody Arrangement
Deciding on a custody arrangement is a critical part of the divorce process, especially when children are involved. Physical custody involves where the child will live, and legal custody consists of the right to make critical decisions about the child's life, such as education, healthcare, and religion. Generally, parents share legal custody, while one will take primary physical custody, and the other parent will have visitation rights.
5. Prioritize Your Well-Being
Divorce is a complicated emotional process, so prioritizing your well-being is essential. Ensure you get enough rest, eat well, and engage in physical activities regularly. You can consider practices like yoga, meditation, or therapy to help alleviate stress and anxiety.
For more info, contact a local divorce attorney.