Contact Us Today!

Contact Us Today!

  • Message

(908) 272-0200

How to Prepare Yourself to File for Divorce

The end of a marriage is certainly not something to be taken lightly. In addition to the emotional process of separating from your spouse, divorce also entails a plethora of legal and financial decisions—but while it can be overwhelming, this process can also set the foundation for a better future. 

If you’re planning to file for divorce, it’s vital to be adequately prepared to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible, from finding a divorce attorney to ensuring you have the support you need.

Find a divorce attorney 

First things first: seek legal counsel. Whether you’re dealing with an amicable divorce or a high-conflict situation, it’s important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side. 

It is also important to find the right attorney for your needs. Consider what your goals are for your divorce and beyond. Make a list of concerns you have, such as establishing parenting time, child support payments, or how you could approach the distribution of assets. Identifying what is important to you now will make it easier to find the right lawyer. 

Don’t hesitate to speak to several attorneys during your search and ask questions about their approach to family law matters, the types of divorces they handle, and what to expect while working with them. 

Gather the right information

When preparing for divorce, gather the following types of information: 

Personal information

While you may have taken a “what’s mine is yours” approach during your marriage, this is no longer the case when filing for divorce. As you prepare to separate from your spouse, you should also separate your information to protect your privacy. 

Gather the following information:

Consolidating and separating your personal information isn’t just practical—it can also protect your safety and security. Your divorce attorney may need this information to help with the legal process, too. 

Legal information

Collect and organize any legal documentation, such as: 

If you’re on the fence about whether or not a document is needed, err on the side of caution and keep it. It’s better to have more information than necessary than to scramble as you try to fill the gaps. 

Marital information

As much as you may want to leave your marriage in the past, you’ll still need to share its details with your divorce attorney. 

Gather information including: 

Childrens’ information 

If you have children under the age of 18 (or adult children with long-term disabilities), you’ll need the following information for each: 

Divorce information

Depending on how far along you are in the divorce process, you may already have some temporary orders in place. Gather the following documents as applicable: 

Identify your personal property

Along with separating your information from your spouse’s, you’ll also need to take a look at your property to determine what’s yours, and how you’ll divide any assets. 

Take inventory of the things you own individually, and separate those items from the things you and your spouse own jointly. Document the item and its value, along with any relevant paperwork—deeds for houses, title and registration for vehicles, receipts and warranties for personal and household items, adoption records for pets, and more. You may even want to take a photo of the items for further evidence. 

Not sure about the value of an item or asset? Consider getting it appraised by a professional. 

Get your finances in order

If you and your spouse were sharing a bank account, you’ll need to take some time to split up your joint accounts, figure out who owes what, and get the rest of your finances in order, including: 

Find a place to live

Some couples decide that it works best to live together amicably until the divorce is final. But in other cases, it may be that one party needs to move out of the family home. This may be the case in high-conflict divorces or situations involving domestic violence. 

Whether you stay in the home or move out, be sure that you can afford it on your own. As you plan future living arrangements, be sure to consider how the new location may affect your children’s schooling and custody arrangements. 

Take care of yourself

As you navigate these financial and legal issues, don’t forget to take care of your emotional and physical health. Even in cases where the divorce is amicable, it can still be difficult. Give yourself permission to grieve the life you had pictured, while also looking forward with hope to your new future. 

Gather a team of people who can support you financially, legally, and otherwise, from lawyers to financial advisors to child care providers—and, of course, friends and family members that you can lean on for emotional support. 

Contact us

Divorce is a complex process. Taking these steps to prepare is just the beginning of the process. One of the best things you can do for yourself in this process is to work with a knowledgeable legal team that has your best interests in mind.

The family law attorneys at Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski are here to help you navigate the divorce process and guide you toward your new future. Contact us today to get started.

Start Working With Us