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7 Steps To Take Before Filing Divorce

If you are seriously considering divorce, there are steps you can take now to position yourself for success. Here are 7 things you can do even before you file for divorce:

1. Gather Your Financial Records

Gather recent tax returns, pay stubs, investment and brokerage account statements, retirement fund and employee benefits summaries and other financial documents. These will play an important role in your case, and you do not want to lose time trying to gather them while the divorce is in progress. You should also take inventory of your separate property. In Alabama, separate property is not subject to property division. This includes assets acquired prior to marriage, as well as inheritances and gifts.

2. Set Money Aside

Who is control of the accounts? Who has access to the funds? Would your spouse attempt to block you from accessing the money you need to hire a lawyer and pursue a divorce? Even if you do not believe that is likely and there are legal remedies available to address it if it occurs, it can be helpful to set money aside that you can use to pay a family law lawyer and cover costs while your divorce is pending.

3. Think About The Living Situation

Where will you live when the divorce is pending? Are you and your spouse on good enough terms that you will both be able to stay in the family home? Will one of you need to stay with friends or family, or look for a temporary apartment? Even if you think you will be able to handle the divorce amicably, have a contingency plan in place. These are emotional issues and you never know exactly how your spouse will react.

4. Plan To Protect Your Children

If you have children, you will want to put their needs first. Think of how you are going to discuss the divorce with them and create a plan to protect them throughout the process. That means making certain that you and your spouse do not argue in front of them. Avoid saying anything disparaging about your spouse to the child, because it could be the basis of accusations of parental alienation. Living arrangements should revolve around the children. If possible, the children should stay in the family home.

5. Open A Post Office Box

You may want to open a PO Box in your name to ensure privacy as documents regarding your divorce and related financial matters are often delivered by mail.

6. Lay The Groundwork For Future Financial Success

This is going to be a big change financially. Now is the time to start thinking about your post-divorce budget. Review everything from your cellphone plan to your grocery bill. Spend conservatively now in preparation for the change. You may also want to get a credit card in your name, if you do not have one already, to start building up your personal credit score. A credit card may also come in handy while funds are tied up in the divorce.

7. Talk To A Divorce Attorney As Soon As Possible

You do not have to wait until you are ready to file to discuss your divorce with an attorney. Even if you have not yet discussed divorce with your spouse, you can begin divorce planning to lay the groundwork for your case. At Russo White & Keller P.C., we are ready to get you started on the right path.

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