Preparing for divorce is often an overwhelming task, especially when the end of your marriage seems to have happened suddenly, without much warning. Although many marriages tend to dissolve slowly, over time, some end abruptly. This can result in couples having to scramble around at the last minute and attempt to sift through a list of tasks that must be addressed in order to finalize the separation.
Whether you sense your marriage is coming to end, have already discussed the idea of separating with your spouse, or have been blindsided by the rapid unraveling of your relationship, it is time to hunker down and get to work. Preparation is key for any undertaking as vast as the divorce process. The earlier you begin planning, the better off you will be. Even if your divorce is sudden, however, there are still a number of steps you can take in order to make the separation experience as efficient as possible.
Consider four ways every divorcing spouse can get organized in preparation for the filing process:
- Collect your financial records. Undoubtedly, money is one of the very first areas most divorcing spouses feel the urge to address when their separation is imminent. Understandably, what you do—or do not do—with your assets has the power to significantly impact your lifestyle after the divorce. Therefore, it is crucial to do what you can to secure your financial security. Your very first course of action should be to collect all joint and personal financial records. Take inventory of your debts, earnings, and budget information. Have it on hand and ready to go so you have a clear financial snapshot as you meet with your attorney and financial planner.
- Route your personal mail. Even if you are unsure of what your living arrangements will be post divorce, it is helpful to establish a new mail arrangement beforehand, in order to begin separating your confidential, personal mail from your shared residence. Opening a post office box is helpful, especially if you have yet to relocate to a new home.
- Set up separate bank accounts. Another step you can take to get ahead of the divorce game is to immediately open your own separate checking and savings accounts in your name, as well as a credit card in your name. This will give you a chance to establish your own credit and show you where you stand in terms of the funds you have to provide for yourself. It will also give you a good picture of what you possibly need to save or how much you are able to spend on legal services and fees.
- Gather all important benefit information. Along with collecting your financial records, it is also crucial to gather any benefit information under your name. For example, you will want records of your life and health insurance policies, as well as any living will or health directive information. Begin a list of any modifications that may be necessary, such as beneficiary changes or updating retirement account designations.
This is by no means an exhaustive checklist for an impending divorce, but tackling these basic tasks can help you get a head start on the process and help you feel more in control as you move forward. To access the resources you need and secure proper legal representation, speak with a knowledgeable Elmhurst, IL divorce attorney today. Call Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC at 312-605-4041 for a one-on-one consultation.