What to Include in Your Divorce Planning Checklist: A Comprehensive Guide
Divorce can be an incredibly stressful experience and it’s important to have a plan in place beforehand. Due to the potential for long and complicated legal proceedings, some people may need special assistance to make sure that their rights are protected throughout the process. To help alleviate any potential headaches and confusion, we have created a divorce planning checklist that provides an all-inclusive overview of exactly what needs to be done before, during, and after the actual formalization of dissolution from your spouse.
The checklist is lengthy but covers all necessary topics in detail, including budgeting for the expenses associated with filing for divorce, ways to protect yourself legally such as agreeing to mediation services or consulting with a lawyer ahead of time, setting up custody arrangements if you have children involved, doing research on obtaining financial support (spousal or child), and even information on drawing up settlements outside of court if desired. Additionally, it offers advice on how not to let emotions cloud decisions at every stage of the divorce planning process so that everything proceeds as quickly and efficiently as possible. With all this information put together in an easy-to-follow guide your chances of making it through the whole transition unscathed are much higher!Discuss the Divorce
Divorce is a difficult topic to bring up and can be a stressful experience. It is important to think through when, where, and how to best broach the subject. It may not seem like an ideal time, but it is best to avoid bringing up divorce at a major holiday, an anniversary, a child's birthday, or other important events that might have sentimental value. Instead, pick a time that will give both people the chance for thoughtful conversation without interruption from outside commitments. It can also be beneficial to have the conversation away from the home and distractions so both parties can focus on what is being said without any emotional triggers in the familiar environment of their home. When discussing divorce try to remain as civil as possible and avoid paying more than absolutely necessary. Go into the conversation knowing what you need to say and don't let emotions take control.Get Support
Divorce is a painful and difficult experience, even for divorces that start amicably. It’s important to build a strong support system and seek professional help to keep everything organized and manageable. Make sure you have a group of friends and family members you can rely on and who will be there to listen and lend a hand when you need it. Additionally, consider seeing a therapist if you’re dealing with any trauma related to your divorce, such as domestic violence or substance abuse. A therapist can provide both emotional support as well as counseling and advice.
If sorting out financial decisions is bogging you down, then arrange an appointment to speak with either a financial planner or certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). Financial planners can help provide the guidance needed in order to make appropriate decisions regarding the division of assets or investments. Furthermore, having this professional advice ensures that all issues pertaining to finances are properly addressed in case of disputes that arise during the divorce process. Don’t hesitate to seek expert assistance in managing your finances; it could potentially save money down the line if matters get complicated.Hire an Attorney
Hiring an attorney is one of the most important decisions you can make in a divorce. Even if your divorce is amicable and you think it will be easy to get through the process, it's important to get legal advice so that you understand the rights and responsibilities of both sides involved. An attorney will help ensure that you satisfy all the state requirements for a finalized divorce. Additionally, they will be able to make sure that proceedings are carried out fairly and without any favoritism.
When searching for a family law attorney, look for recommendations from family or friends who have been in similar situations or have prior connections with attorneys they trust. Also, read online reviews--this can give insight into what other clients’ experiences were like when working with particular attorneys. Once you have gathered a list of potential lawyers, interview each one to figure out which one best matches your needs and gives you a sense of comfort and security.Sort out the Separation Details
When couples decide to separate, they must sort out all the details that come along with it. One of the most pressing matters is usually deciding where each spouse and any children will live. Deciding which partner moves out with, if either, and how much space each can afford or is comfortable with is a critical step in this process.
The cost of maintaining two separate households can be significant, so both parties should strive to keep their housing expenses within 25% of their respective take-home pay. It's helpful to develop a budget for both households based on these limits to make sure everyone is safe and financially afloat during this transition period. Other things that need to be considered when sorting out living arrangements are issues such as utility bills, owning vs renting, shared custody agreements, or daycare costs. Developing a plan that quickly but thoughtfully takes into account both parties' needs can help ensure a smoother transition into living separately.Itemize Your Belongings
Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional time, but taking the time to itemize your belongings as part of the divorce process can be incredibly helpful in deciding who gets what during the division of assets. Making a list of all personal items that belong to only you, such as artwork, jewelry, family heirlooms, and photos and documents of special significance can make it easier to figure out who will keep these important items. For safety purposes, these items can be given over to family members or friends for safekeeping until the divorce is finalized.
In addition to individual possessions, it is also important to document any properties that were acquired by both spouses during the marriage. The categories of items listed include real estate, cars, machinery and equipment, household items, and pets. When making this list it is also beneficial to include an estimate of the value for each item as well as any associated paperwork such as vehicle titles or registration documents. Having this information ready will make the division of assets much less complicated and stress-free in the long run.Talk to a Lawyer
An experienced divorce lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you with your divorce case. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.