How to Prepare For an Impending Divorce
A divorce and even legal separation can be emotionally, financially, and physically devastating for anyone. So if you have decided to go your separate ways, preparing yourself beforehand will benefit your emotional and mental health. Divorce lawyers in Hoffman Estates can also ease the entire experience by taking on challenging tasks as you get your life together.
Top 9 Ways to Prepare For an Impending Divorce
By knowing the steps you should take post-divorce up front, you can make the process peaceful and fair and reduce drama as much as possible. Here are some you should look into:
1. Organize Yourself
You will need to make a series of challenging and complex decisions during your divorce, impacting your future and your family’s comfort. The more organized you are, the higher your chances of getting a favorable settlement agreement. Experienced divorce lawyers in Hoffman Estates can guide you through the process and help you prepare.
This may be difficult initially, but bring your spouse into the loop. Make a list of debts and assets and start gathering important documents such as:
- Pay stubs
- Tax returns
- Bank account statements
- Credit card statements
- Mortgage statements
- Car loan information
- Insurance policies
And other documents about marital assets. Create a separate marital budget with your spouse to understand joint monthly expenses. The figures will also help you determine your future monthly costs, i.e., when you are living alone or with your children without a partner to support you. Make sure you have a divorce attorney speaking for you. You may overlook certain information that can improve your lifestyle post-divorce.
2. Determine Whether You Should Settle Out Of Court
If you can avoid a trial with amicable agreements with your spouse, do so. Courtroom battles can seriously affect your mental health and your children. If your spouse is agreeable, discuss the following issues out of court:
- Spousal support/Spousal maintenance
- Debt and property distribution
- Child custody and support
Once you have agreed on these issues, place them into a marital settlement, sign it (both of you), and submit it to the court. If you cannot agree on certain things, hire a mediator to help you out. They can often aid divorcing couples finalized a judgment that is fair to them both. If that isn’t possible, you should go for a trial.
3. Prepare a Parenting Arrangement
A solid parenting agreement will ensure your children have a stable future with both parents, even if they live separately. Here are some of the things you should address in the plan:
- The state custody process. The plan should include visitation timings/days, holiday and school break schedules, and other special occasions.
- Create a calendar. Keep track of each child’s schedule, such as extracurricular activities, canceled visits, and expenses you paid for.
- Learn about child support. Consider whether you will need child support or need to pay it after your divorce. It doesn’t matter if you are the mother or the father. In Illinois, both parents are legally obliged to provide for their children. The court will evaluate your financial statements to determine who gets to pay.
4. Close All Joint Credit Accounts
Before you separate, close all of the joint credit accounts. It’s a failsafe to keep angry spouses from running up charges that you will also have to pay for later. Close the accounts by paying a smaller amount than is owed. Get a creditor’s letter as proof and a written promise that you will not say anything against the account to credit reporting agencies.
Freeze the account if you cannot forge a settlement agreement regarding the owed balance. You will not be able to use the account, but you will have protection. Once the divorce is finalized, the owed balance will be transferred to the party that the court believes incurred it. Your credit score will not take a hit if they don’t pay it.
Let creditors know you are going through a divorce, and ensure you receive all joint account bills if there is an address change. Ensure all credit card bills get paid on time so your credit score doesn’t suffer. Even if you have to pay the minimum amount, don’t delay them. Even a single missed payment can impact divorce proceedings.
5. Address Emotional Injuries
Your emotions are at an all-time high right now. Your anger and depression will weigh you down before you can get through divorce proceedings that aren’t known for being easy. You won’t be able to make critical decisions with a clear mind if you don’t get therapy first. The therapist will help you categorize your emotions, help you deal with them, and unburden your mind.
Here are some steps you should address in your emotional recovery plan:
- Develop a routine, emotional support, and activities that can carry you through birthdays, graduations, and other joint celebrations. If you cannot afford therapy, have at least one friend you can unload on without getting judged or ignored. The last thing you want to do is scream at your children in frustration.
- Don’t play the blame game. Blaming and shaming your spouse or anyone responsible for your divorce will do more harm than good. It will complicate the process since you will refuse to deal with your emotions. Make healthier choices by keeping your responsibilities at the forefront. Right now, your family needs you.
- Use the lessons you learned from this relationship to define the next one. Evaluate your weaknesses, choices, and responsibilities to determine why your marriage didn’t work out so you can get closure. Own your mistakes so you can start your new life without bitterness.
6. Focus On Finances
The first thing that divorce lawyers in Hoffman Estates will tell you is to familiarize yourself with your financial assets. Most homemakers leave these to the breadwinner and happily live in the dark to their detriment. Do that, and you will have nothing after the divorce proceedings.
So write down account numbers, document bank statements, and look at your tax returns. Whatever you do, never sign anything without reading it first or before sending it to your attorney. Both parties have to fill out a net worth statement during this time. Make sure all of your assets and accounts are accounted for.
7. Don’t Stop Spending
The advice can differ as per your financial circumstances and the couple in general. But if you receive spousal support in the arrangement, you can consider expenditures. It can help you realize your worth once again. Say, during the good times, you regularly went to dinner with your spouse or took vacations. But all of that stopped when the marriage started to break down.
Why should you sacrifice the lifestyle you were used to because you are going your separate ways? Spoil yourself and your children (if you have custody) with the money so you can raise them with a healthy mindset. Take vacations, shop for essentials, and get used to an existence different from before.
Sometimes, maintaining a lifestyle can be the best move leading to a divorce. It can help you create a budget that you can keep post-divorce. So live your lifestyle freely.
8. Open Credit Cards
If you don’t have a credit card in your name, open one before divorce proceedings. Your spouse’s card does not belong to you even if you use it too. If you are cut off but need money later, at least you will have emergency funds to take care of yourself.
Plus, start saving some cash as well while you are at it. If nothing else, it will help you pay off the card later if you cannot get a job immediately.
9. Hire an Attorney for Negotiations and Trials
The first thing you need to do before you mention divorce to your spouse is to hire a divorce attorney. Make sure they understand family laws and have the skills and experience to handle your case. This includes helping you navigate through the red tape involved in the process.
A lawyer focused on settlements cannot help you maximize your gains. They should help you reach an agreement that protects your interests and ensures you have a stable life afterward. Quick decisions will hurt you later.
Contact Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C for A Consultation Today!
If you wish to get a divorce or require consultation on the matter, contact our divorce lawyers in Hoffman Estates for a meeting by dialing (847) 241-1299. At the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C., we understand that the process may be overwhelming for you and are here to guide you in any way we can.
We aim to ease the divorce by taking on most of your burden. If this is your first one, chances are you have never dealt with legal matters before. So besides the emotional distress, you have to face fear and anxiety as you anticipate a trial.
Our attorneys are trained and experienced in providing professional and emotional support during this challenging time. We deal with a wide range of family law issues and can represent your case in a dignified and collaborative manner. Contact us for a consultation today!