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How to Prepare for Divorce

Not everyone sees their divorce coming, sometimes people may feel like it hit them from out of the blue, while others see the signs as they appear. Regardless of your situation, whether you and your spouse have recently decided to divorce, or you expect a divorce is in your near future, it’s always best to be prepared.

If you take the proper measures early on, you can save yourself undue stress, financial trouble, and legal issues that you may otherwise come across down the road. To help, our legal team at the Law Offices of Michelizzi, Schwabacher, Ward & Ward have put together a brief list of ways you can prepare for your upcoming divorce.

1. Get Your Finances in Order

Take inventory of all of your accounts and obtain and organize any important records. Pay special attention to bank statements, joint or independent investments, property documents, tax returns, benefits information and documentation of your current pay, and that of your spouse. Even if they exist in a computer somewhere, or are all documented by the bank, or your spouse, be sure you have your own copies as well. For safekeeping, have two copies of your complete compilation of your records and store one at a trusted friend or family member’s house for safekeeping.

2. Know Your Assets

Years of marriage will often lead to the accumulation of a fair amount of shared assets, so it’s very important for you to be able to identify what is solely yours. If you inherited property or money, have heirlooms, or anything given specifically to you as a gift, put it in writing. Also, never commingle funds or assets with existing funds. Always put inherited money in a separate account and never put new money into it. This eliminates any issues of a potential change in the characterization from separate property to community property. Also, keep track of the joint investments and purchases you have made with your spouse. Even if they weren’t solely yours they will be important to evaluate when you negotiate and divide your assets.

3. Discuss Divorce Issues with your Spouse

In some relationships that are breaking down, there is still the possibility of having rational discussions related to the pending divorce. A divorce is only going to be as complicated as the parties are going to make it. If a divorce case involves children, then see if you and your spouse can come to an agreement regarding custody and visitation. Put a schedule together as far as when each parent will be spending time with the children. However, always talk to an attorney before you put anything in stone, or start implementing an agreed upon schedule. Also, divide as much of the minor property issues as possible without attorneys getting involved. To pay attorneys more in hourly fees then miscellaneous couches, TV’s, tables and dishes are worth, makes little financial sense. The more that can be resolved, the more time, stress and especially money is saved by both parties.

4. Budget for Professional Fees

Divorce can be expensive, but, as with most things, you will likely need to invest money in order to save in the long run. Know the cost of legal representation and be prepared for the fees you will need to pay and when. In addition to a divorce attorney, you may need financial advisors, and any additional childcare services for your children while you and your spouse sort out your divorce. It may also be helpful to have your children see a therapist at this time to help them process the divorce. Compile a list of all possible, foreseeable expenses and create a budget based on your income.

5. Keep an Eye on Your Credit

Once the divorce process starts, or you begin separating your own accounts, you should print out a copy of your credit report and continue to monitor it throughout the divorce. Improving your credit can help prepare you for your new life of independence, and it’s a good idea to find ways you can improve your credit. Keep a sharp eye on any strange activity and if you see anything suspicious report it to your lawyer.

6. Focus on Yourself

Lastly, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Divorce can be tough, and you’ll need to be ready to handle all of the twists and turns in the divorce process, and to be there for your children. Speak with good friends, find a steady workout routine, eat well, spend time with your children, and try to focus on all of the positive aspects of your life.

If you are going through a divorce and need legal assistance, contact the Law Offices of Michelizzi, Schwabacher, Ward & Ward for compassionate help.

Categories: Divorce
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The Law Office of MSWC Law Offices of Michelizzi, Schwabacher, Ward & Ward
Lancaster Attorney
767 West Lancaster Boulevard
Lancaster, CA 93534
Phone: (661) 584-4282 | Local Phone: (661) 948-5021.

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