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What Is the First Thing to Do When Getting a Divorce?

June 25, 2021

Whether your spouse has decided to end your marriage, it was a mutual agreement, or you have made an individual decision to move on, the logistics of the divorce process can be complicated and sometimes overwhelming. Most individuals who find themselves in the position to divorce are seeking the proper steps to take to ensure the process moves along as quickly and painlessly as possible. This is a beneficial strategy, as knowing vital information about divorce from the beginning can save time and avoid complications as your divorce proceeds.

Basic Tips Every Divorcing Individual Should Know

Any break-up is strenuous on both parties, but when you are married and facing divorce, there are many logistical factors that must be considered as you begin the legal process. The prospect of looking for a new home, learning how to live according to a new budget, and deciding on the best lawyer to help you along the way may seem like a daunting task. However, taking things one step at a time can make it easier to reach your goals. Consider these expert tips as a primary outline as you move forward:

  • Focus on the big picture.
  • Maintain your integrity.
  • Consider your children's feelings, and foster a good relationship between children and your spouse.
  • Be sure to develop an emotional support network.
  • As you negotiate terms with your spouse, treat the proceedings like a business transaction.
  • Be active in your negotiations and take proper responsibility.
  • Research legal professionals in your area so you can choose one with experience and a proven track record.
  • Get your finances in order.
  • Consider the more amicable option of divorce mediation.
  • Do your research, and educate yourself on the divorce or annulment process.

These steps may seem basic, but maintaining a strong focus on them is the best way to keep things simple and avoid complicated situations. In addition to these primary steps, consider the following advice from Hood divorce attorneys.

Decide Whether or Not to Stay in Your Current Home

Contrary to popular belief, it is often best to avoid moving out of your home until your divorce is final. If you are in the unfortunate circumstance of an abusive relationship, you must leave the situation for your safety. Otherwise, there are several reasons to stay.

If you move out of your home, it may affect your interest in the asset. For instance, if you move and your spouse is left with the mortgage payment throughout the divorce proceedings, the judge may take that into consideration when they rule on property distribution. If you choose to move and continue to pay your share of the mortgage, be sure to keep documentation of those payments.

Other factors to consider include keeping your children in their current home until they finish school and negotiating the mortgage payment. If your spouse earns more income than you and you hope to negotiate them paying all or part of the mortgage, you may lose the ability to do so if you leave. Always discuss the matter with your Hood divorce lawyer first. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to file for temporary possession of the marital home until the divorce is final, a process especially important in cases of domestic abuse. If it is not possible, however, you should take steps to protect yourself and your children.

Try to Close Joint Credit Accounts

In order to prevent either party from using credit accounts and accumulating charges the other party is responsible for repaying, it is always best to pay off and close credit accounts before entering divorce proceedings. If you cannot pay the account in full, the best way to proceed is to negotiate with the creditor to pay less than what is owed. Be sure to obtain a letter stating that the account is paid in full, along with a promise (in writing) that the creditor will not file any negative information with credit reporting agencies. At the very least, have credit accounts frozen if they cannot be paid off and continue making monthly payments in order to maintain your credit score.

Protect Your Interest in Joint Financial Accounts

Sadly, spouses often attempt to access shared financial accounts in a fit of anger or on the advice of their attorney, so it is vital to ensure that your spouse cannot empty your accounts. One way to do this is to open accounts in your own name and transfer your share of the funds from the joint accounts to your personal account. You do not need to keep this secret, but be sure that you document all of your spending and don’t spend foolishly. The action may affect your divorce negotiations, so be careful not to take any action that will have a negative effect on your final divorce judgment. Be sure to consider all types of accounts, including investments, money market accounts, and savings accounts. Alternatively, your divorce attorney may advise you to have these accounts frozen.

Get Your Finances in Order and Establish a Post-Divorce Budget

One of the main goals of your divorce proceedings is to achieve an equitable distribution of the debts and assets you and your spouse obtained during your marriage. To achieve this goal, you must establish a clear outline of your and your spouse’s finances. Consider everything you own, including vehicles, financial accounts, homes, valuables, inheritances, pensions, and artwork. You must also establish the value of any debts you owe. Whether the debt is attributed to you or your spouse, the amount each party owes is determined based on which spouse has the financial resources to cover the debts.

To determine your budget after you are divorced, you must first look at your costs of living. Keep in mind that this major change in your life may greatly reduce the income you have to live on. For this reason, it is important to prepare ahead of time, so your expenses do not come as a shock once you are divorced. Start by estimating your expenses, as this will give you a rough idea of the income you will need to meet your financial obligations. This figure will be important as you negotiate your settlement, and it will give you an idea of what to ask for in court.

Be the Bigger Person

The stress and anxiety couples experience when facing a divorce often leads to severe tension and nasty behavior. Be sure to keep yourself in check and stay calm as you face negotiations. Any type of behavior considered inappropriate by your spouse’s attorney or the judge in charge of your case could create complications for you in court. For that reason, remain aware of your actions, especially when you are taking part in negotiations involving child custody.

Similarly, you may be tempted to find consolation in a new relationship. However, if you are not already involved with someone new, it is often more beneficial to rely on your friends and family for support until the divorce is finalized. Your existing support network often provides the most sturdy structure for you to maintain your emotional and physical well-being.

Always Follow the Advice of a Trusted Attorney

If you are facing a divorce, the insight your Hood County divorce attorney provides will prove invaluable. The experienced professionals at The Law Office of William A. Walsh are here to provide professional guidance so that you understand the divorce process every step of the way. Contact our firm today to learn more about divorce or schedule a consultation to find out how we can help you.




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