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  • Writer's pictureMark Flowers

A Step by Step Guide to Preparing for Divorce

Your “I do” has turned into “I don’t.” When you walked down the aisle, you envisioned a life of permanent marital bliss, but reality has not been so kind. It is now time to end your marriage. You want a divorce, but how do you go about actually preparing for this huge life change? In this article, we’ve pulled together some of our best pre-divorce prep articles. With this divorce preparation guide in hand, you’ll know what to expect so you can power through your divorce and come out the other end stronger, better, and ready for the next chapter in your life.

You’re Going to Need Money

You may think that the first step to getting a divorce is to file a petition with the court. Nope! As long as your situation isn’t dire, you should first make sure that you have access to cash. You’re going to need to be able to pay your attorney and possibly look for new housing before your settlement. Build up a cash reserve so that your husband can’t leave you high and dry when he receives your divorce petition.

Consider Whether a Separation Might Be the Better Option

Even if you want your marriage to be over, a separation may be a better choice for important financial reasons. For example, if you are self-employed or work at a small company, you may rely on your husband’s health insurance to cover your medical expenses. If you and your husband are on agreeable terms and neither of you is seeking to re-marry right away, a separation may be the pragmatic choice.

Choose a Divorce Attorney

Every woman’s situation is different when she approaches divorce, so there really is no one-size-fits-all divorce plan. That’s why it can be so helpful to hire a divorce attorney before you file the paperwork. Your divorce attorney can help you determine the full scope of your marital estate, search for hidden assets, and develop your settlement strategy before you pull the trigger. Your attorney can also walk you through different settlement approaches, including mediation and collaborative divorce.

Search for Hidden Assets

The key to getting your fair share of your marital estate is knowing the full scope of the assets you and your husband own. Many women are surprised to learn the full value of their husband’s business, and some have no idea that their husbands own land or extra vehicles. Finding these assets will become much more difficult after you serve your husband with divorce papers. When he realizes that he may lose a big chunk of his wealth, he could start trying to hide assets. That’s why it is important to look for and reveal as many assets as possible before the divorce.

Burnish Your Resume

If your husband’s income allowed you to stay at home, then a divorce means you’ll likely need to find a job to get by. While you can certainly ask for both child support and spousal support (also known as alimony), it likely won’t be enough to keep you afloat. As you prepare for divorce, update your resume and put out feelers. It will be much less stressful to jump into the job search before you are on your own and the bills are past due.

Prepare for the Financial Reality of Divorce

The average woman faces a 73% loss in her standard of living after a divorce. Let that sink in for just a bit. Even as you start to consider divorce, now is the time to begin preparing for your new financial reality. You don’t want to have to figure out why you can’t pay your bills when the debt collectors are calling. Instead, put together your post-divorce budget NOW so that you can use it as a guide during your divorce negotiations.

Contemplating Divorce? Understand the process. Hear from legal, financial, and counseling specialists at our workshop.

Second Saturday offers non-biased financial, emotional and legal information from qualified local professionals, providing people with the knowledge, support, resources and trust that they need to survive the divorce process and move forward with confidence toward a new life.

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