It’s the general consensus that divorce is a stressful and overwhelming event. If you have decided to end your marriage, or if your spouse has made the decision to go your separate ways, you’re probably wondering what first steps you should take to get through this major life transition as painlessly and amicably as possible.
We wanted to compile a list of some of our most insightful tips that will help you prepare for your divorce; these tips will also help you make better financial decisions from the start. We hope you find them helpful – for more advice don’t hesitate to reach out to our legal team directly!
1. Choose peace over war.
When it comes to divorce, you’ll be faced with a plethora of options. You’ll have to make decisions constantly. One of the biggest options you have is to choose peace or war. You can be unwilling to compromise and litigate in court. Or, you can collaborate and spend a lot less money. Of course, only you know your situation. You want to do your homework ahead of time before proceeding. Once you fully understand your options, go from there. Our advice is to choose the option that promotes peace, as sometimes a divorce is the only way to make it out of marriage alive.
2. Focus on being organized.
Be aware that during the divorce process, you’ll have to make dozens of decisions that will affect your family’s future. The more educated and organized you are, the better position you’ll be in to negotiate. When you choose a competent divorce lawyer to guide you through the discovery process, he or she will help you understand divorce negotiations and the ramifications of your options.
The first step of getting organized involves gathering documentation. Collaborate with your spouse to gather all of your financial documents, such as your state and federal tax returns, W2s, 1099s, pay stubs, credit card statements, mortgage documents, insurance policies, auto loan statements, brokerage account statements, etc.
Figure out your marital budget so you understand your current monthly living expenses. From there, determine your budget after you’re divorced and living on your own. While tempting, it’s not wise to start negotiating with your spouse without a qualified professional’s assistance. At this point, all you’re doing is getting organized and preparing for the discovery phase. You want to avoid entering into verbal agreements because you don’t necessarily know the big picture.
3. Don’t be on the sidelines.
For many people, divorce is so traumatic, all they want to do is stay in bed all day or stay in their house for months on end; don’t be on the sidelines. This is your divorce and the decisions you make today are going to affect you and your children for years to come. Don’t let your spouse control the negotiations and passively say “yes” to whatever they ask for.
Our advice is to be active and participate in the negotiation process, even if your spouse is the initiator. This way, you’re more likely to walk away with a better settlement.
If you’re looking for a Staten Island divorce attorney, contact us today for a free consultation at (718) 557-9137.