Deciding to end your marriage can be difficult for everyone in the family. After breaking the news, emotions are likely to be running high throughout your household. While it is important to take time to address your emotional state and the emotional well-being of your children, it can also be advantageous to start getting organized.
Generally, the sooner you can begin preparing for divorce, the better. Those who get organized early tend to have the relevant facts at their fingertips throughout the divorce process, which can help them reach better divorce outcomes.
Collect important documents
One of the first steps you should take involves making sure you have your own copy of all of your family’s important documents. Some documents you may want to collect include:
- Bank statements
- Brokerage statements
- Tax returns
- Mortgage and other loan documents
- Retirement account information
- Credit card statements
- Estate planning documents
- Insurance policies
- Real estate deeds
File your important documents
Once you collect all your family’s important documents, try to organize the documents by grouping similar items together. The purpose of this is to make sure your important documents are filed away safely in a way that will allow you to quickly find what you may need.
Address your finances
Actions you may take to get your finances ready for divorce include closing joint accounts, getting copies of your credit report and examining your family’s current income and expenses. By examining your family’s current income and expenses, you can try to project what your financial situation may be after divorce. This projection can help you make important decisions during your divorce, such as if you can afford to keep the marital home or if it makes sense for you to seek alimony.
Searching for documents, filing papers and creating budgets are probably not actions you want to take when you feel emotional. Mourning the loss of your marriage is natural, but getting yourself prepared for divorce can be cathartic. Preparing for divorce can help you begin to consider the fresh start in your future, while helping you achieve better outcomes from your divorce.