Want A Smooth Divorce? Take These 3 Steps Before Filing

Want A Smooth Divorce? Take These 3 Steps Before Filing

A divorce can be one heck of a bumpy ride. You have to figure out how to separate your life from your spouse's, which is not easy considering your lives have been intertwined from the day you signed that marriage certificate.

Before filing for divorce there are lots of steps you can take to ensure the process is as smooth (and affordable!) as possible. Your divorce prep to-do list will be long -- you'll have to divide your assets and liabilities, discuss child support if you are parents, and create a new future for yourself.

Without proper planning, divorce can take an even heavier toll on you. Especially financially. No one wants that.
Here are 3 ways to get started:

1. Have a Clear Picture of Your Finances

Understanding your finances is vital for the distribution of marital property. The first step is to come up with a list of your marital and personal assets. Your marital assets are anything purchased after the marriage. It includes:

  • Your family home
  • Cars
  • Joint financial accounts
  • Appreciation of non-marital assets

You and your spouse have to divide your marital property equitably, but you may retain your personal assets.

Those might include:

  • Any property you brought into the marriage
  • Gifts given to you by someone outside the marriage
  • Inherited property

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many assets to gather and numbers to crunch. (We get it, it's overwhelming!) Divide & Thrive's Divorce Planner takes the guesswork out of what to do. We took everything we to successfully get organized for separation and divorce and created an easy-to-use digital planner that has saved thousands of people throughout the U.S. and Canada time and money, and given them peace of mind during divorce. 

2. Consult a Divorce Lawyer

Seeking legal help is the most critical step in divorce preparation. Talking with a lawyer does not mean you want to settle your divorce through litigation! Having a professional look through your planner and assess where you are, and give you insight as to what to expect during divorce, is an investment worth making. Even if it's just for one hour of someone's time!

There are so many different way to start the divorce process. Hiring an attorney and litigating and mediation are the two most common ways to divorce, but there are other routes you can take. Check out Divorce Without Lawyers. It walks you through various options, what to be aware of, and mistakes to avoid. 

3. Determine Your Income and Financial Obligations

Maybe you were in charge of finances during the marriage, or perhaps your soon-to-be-Ex was. No matter who took the lead, you'll need t prepare financially for divorce and life afterward. 

Moving from a two-income household to a single is a huge adjustment, and if you've been working in the home that goes doubly so. Maybe you took time out off from your career to raise children, or to care for a sick family member, whatever the reason you're in a much more vulnerable place financially so being ahead of the process and on top of all of the numbers of your married life is critical. You should also take into account possibly working outside of the home after divorce. 

If you have kids then start thinking about additional childcare expenses you'll have to cover after your divorce. Crunching the numbers early will allow you to discuss child support with the hard numbers of your life. Studies have found that children do well after divorce when their parents financially plan. Check out these 

Bonus Thought 

By taking time to prepare before filing for divorce, you'll be able to transition from a married to a divorced relatively smoothly. There is no better time to get started than today. Start planning for those bing changes now so you can be PROACTIVE and not REACTIVE.

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