If your marriage has reached a new low point and you have decided that a divorce is the best way to move forward, I recommend you start preparing now so that the legal process goes smoothly – and you can begin your new life more quickly. Here are my top 5 ways to get ready to file for a divorce:
- Make copies of all financial records. You are going to need copies to show the judge so that things like alimony and child support amounts can be calculated. To divide up and possibly sell financial assets like your primary residence, jointly-owned rental property, or a business run by both spouses, your judge will need these important documents. Also gather the last 5 years of your joint tax returns.
- Make yourself aware of family expenses, i.e., how much it costs you to live each month. Sometimes one spouse will handle all day-to-day living expenses and the other spouse will know little about mortgage payments, school tuition, health insurance premiums, or car payments. Try to make copies of as many documents as you can. Now is not the time to miss something important. Plus, you may not have much time to gather these documents if the other spouse suspects an imminent divorce.
- Be thinking of how you could reasonably envision your life post-divorce. It helps a lot to visualize how your new life looks and how much happier you will be. If you focus on the future, you are less likely to get bogged down in past emotions and perceived wrongs. Now is the time to remove as much emotion as you can from the divorce proceeding so that you draw strength from being calm, cool, and business-minded.
- If you and your spouse have minor children, be thinking of what sort of parenting plan would be in their best interests. Both parents should want their kids to stay during the week with the parent that is committed to helping with homework every night, and getting the kids fed and off to school on time each morning. Then on the weekends the children can live with the other parent. Your final divorce decree will get very detailed about who has visitation on every major holiday, during spring break, and even on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. This is a great place to negotiate for the days most important to you – if it’s in the children’s best interest.
- If you have been delaying costly medical procedures or surgeries, consider scheduling them prior to separating. You may want to get these procedures done while you are still covered by your spouse’s health insurance. Having to pay out-of-pocket deductibles on your own can be a struggle, especially with attorney fees looming. Also, you may want to have any surgeries done while you are still together, so you are fully recovered and have the energy to see the divorce through.
I am available anytime to talk to you about how to file for a divorce in Georgia and answer any questions you have.