Thinking about a divorce before the proceedings start may help to reduce the conflict and stress people often face when they embark upon the divorce process.
Here are some of the important things to consider when preparing for a divorce:
- Get your paperwork together
The volume of information required when divorcing can seem overwhelming, so it is sensible to begin gathering the information as soon as you can. You will need to have a record of all bank and building society accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, mortgages and title information. It also helps to have your most recent P60 and pay slips if you are employed, or two years accounts if you are self-employed.
- Gain an understanding of your financial situation
Estimating the value of the marital pot will help to give you some idea of what you may be entitled to when you get divorced. Consider keeping a budget of your income and expenses because the documentation may become necessary when determining the amount of maintenance that may be awarded.
- Make sure that you can provide for yourself
Although the court can make an order providing you with maintenance, there is a duty upon the court to consider the financial independence of the parties moving forward. It is important to try to provide for yourself after your divorce if possible and you may wish to consider further training or a change of job to improve your position.
- Document your valuables
Have a full record of your possessions, with photographs if possible, including the contents of your house, and your vehicles. If anything goes ‘missing’, this can provide proof of its existence. If you have concerns that your spouse may damage or take your belongings once the proceedings have started, then you might consider storing important items, such as valuable documents, elsewhere.
- Don’t act in haste
It is often tempting to just move out of the marital home but hold fire on making such a big decision until you have sought legal advice, as moving back in can often be far more difficult if you later change your mind. It could also affect the finances or your relationship with your children.
- The call to action
This can all be so complex and overwhelming that THE MOST important thing you should do is to have a strategy meeting with a lawyer to help you navigate your way and to have an early idea of where you stand in a divorce settlement and what the likely costs and timescales will be. The best way to plan for a divorce is to have all of the key information and a clear strategy.