Preparing for Divorce: 5 Things to Do Before You File

Preparing for Divorce

Preparing for divorce is tough – especially if you’ve never been through this type of split before and don’t know what to expect. You can make things easier on yourself by talking to a Stockton divorce lawyer before you file; during your initial consultation, you can ask specific questions, find out how the process works and what you can expect. From there, your attorney will walk you through the entire process.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about preparing for divorce.

Preparing for Divorce: 5 Things You Need to Do Before You File

Check out these five things you need to do as you prepare to divorce your spouse:

  1. Build your support network
  2. Commit to staying civil
  3. Stay focused on your goal
  4. Organize your finances
  5. Be ready to negotiate

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Preparing for Divorce - Support Network

#1. Build your support network

Divorce is tough, and dealing with it alone makes it that much harder. While your attorney can give you legal advice, you may need someone to give you personal advice or help you learn new coping strategies to deal with the stresses you’re facing every day. Family and friends can be great resources when you need divorce support – and don’t forget that you can always talk to a divorce counselor or therapist, too. (And so can your kids!)

Related: Divorce tips

Preparing for Divorce - Stay Civil#2. Commit to staying civil

You’re more likely to get what you want out of your divorce if you commit to staying civil with your spouse – and if you have children, civility is a necessity. You and your spouse will continue to parent your kids long into the future, which means you have to at least refrain from verbally attacking each other when you communicate. We’re not saying that you have to get along with your ex, but you do have to try to be polite and willing to negotiate throughout the process.

Related: Dealing with divorce: 7 tips to help you through it

Preparing for Divorce - Stay Focused#3. Stay focused on your goal

If you’re like most people, your main goal is to make it through your divorce with a reasonably satisfying outcome. You don’t want the whole world, but you don’t want to settle for less than you deserve from your marriage, either. Keep your eye on the fact that your divorce will be over in time – sooner if you and your spouse reach agreements on your own – and that you can begin moving forward right now.

Related: Divorce advice: 3 tips from psychology experts

Preparing for Divorce - Organize Your Finances#4. Organize your finances

Divorce is a big financial change for most people. Whether one of you stayed home and cared for the children or you both worked during your marriage, you’re likely going to see some changes in your bank accounts. One spouse may have to pay the other child support and spousal support, and you may need to part with some of your assets to pay off your joint debts. You’ll be more successful if you organize your finances now, while you’re still preparing for divorce. That may mean:

  • Opening bank accounts and lines of credit in only your name
  • Removing your name from bank accounts and lines of credit you share with your spouse
  • Getting a job
  • Learning what assets and debts you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have
  • Gathering documentation on all your assets and debts to share with your attorney

You should definitely talk to your attorney before you take any major steps (like getting a job or quitting a job), and you should never drain joint financial accounts.

Related: How to protect your assets from divorce

Preparing for Divorce - Be Ready to Negotiate#5. Be ready to negotiate

As you prepare for divorce, know that legally, what you’re doing is dissolving a marriage contract. That means you’ll have to go through a negotiation process to get what you want from the divorce. Be ready for give-and-take when it comes to dividing your property (California is a community property state, so you’ll have to divide the assets you accumulated while you were married) – and when it comes to child custody, too. The judge won’t approve your plans unless they’re fair to everyone involved.

Related: 13 divorce negotiation tips to use now

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Preparing for Divorce?

If you’re preparing for divorce, we may be able to help you. Call us right away at (209) 546-6870 or get in touch with a Stockton divorce attorney online to schedule a consultation today.