Things to Do Before Asking for a Divorce
The divorce process starts well before you actually file the papers. If your marriage is struggling and you think divorce might be your best option, there are important considerations to keep in mind. Below, we discuss a few important steps to take before you ask for a divorce. If you are considering divorce in New Jersey, call a seasoned divorce attorney at the Union Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro for advice and representation.
Consider Your Options
It’s unlikely that you came lightly to the conclusion that you need a divorce. Even in the midst of marital turmoil, however, it’s important to step back and make sure that you do want a full divorce. You might want to consider a trial separation, a legal separation, or, in New Jersey, a “divorce from bed and board.” If you think there’s a chance you and your spouse can still reconcile, a less final option than divorce might be worth considering.
Read up on the Divorce Process
Divorce can be a complex, time-consuming, and emotionally draining process. A little research in advance can go a long way toward helping you understand your options and reducing anxiety around the process. Read up on terms like collaborative divorce, mediation, separation, dissolution, marital assets, and separate assets. You’ll have an easier time discussing your options and goals with your attorney, and you’ll be better prepared at each step of the process.
Review Your Finances and Organize Your Documents
Divorce will, ultimately, involve the division and distribution of your assets. Divorce requires taking a hard look at all of your assets, including your real property, accounts, investments, retirement accounts, mortgages, life insurance policies, and all other assets (and debts). You’ll eventually split these between “marital” assets–those acquired during the marriage–and “separate” assets–those acquired before the marriage or during the marriage via inheritance.
Start making a list of all of your assets and begin categorizing them as marital or separate. Start considering which marital assets are important to you. You’ll ultimately need to collect copies of important financial documents including bank statements, tax forms, account statements, insurance policies, and others. The earlier you start this process, the easier it’ll be to hit the ground running and avoid headaches down the line.
Plan for Expenses
Divorce is a financial hurdle. There’s no way around it. If you rely on your spouse for income, make sure you have sufficient resources to go without for a few months. Unfortunately, divorce creates a lot of harsh feelings, and a higher-earning spouse might try to cut off the lower-earning spouse financially out of spite. You may want to open your own credit line and a separate bank account to ensure you can support yourself until you can get court-ordered financial support.
Think About Child Custody
Before you file for divorce, it’s important to consider what kind of child custody arrangement you’d like. You may have to make decisions about where the kids will live as soon as the divorce is filed, if not earlier. How you handle those matters can affect the ultimate child custody order.
Depending upon the age and maturity of your children, you might want to discuss the matter with your kids. Divorce makes a significant change, and it can be helpful for children to feel their needs are being heard and considered. Knowing their needs and preferences can help you create a workable custody arrangement.
Talk to a Lawyer
Ultimately, you’ll want to talk to a lawyer as early on as possible. Even before you ask for a divorce, it helps to consult with a family law attorney. A dedicated divorce lawyer will help you get all of your affairs in order well before you file. Your attorney will help you review your options, understand your rights and obligations, and ensure that you protect your finances, your assets, and your family at all steps of the divorce process.
Call a Savvy New Jersey Divorce Lawyer for Practical Advice and Effective Representation
If you’re considering divorce, or if you’re dealing with issues involving financial disclosures, equitable division of property, alimony/spousal support, child support, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the diligent and successful Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation.