To do list before filing for divorce

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Are you on the fence as to whether or not you should file for divorce?  Even if you are fairly sure that there is no saving your marriage, there are some things that you should do before you file for divorce.

Talk to an attorney before you do anything.  It is advisable to get as much information before you file so that you are prepared and don’t make some common mistakes.  An attorney will be able to give you a reasonable idea of what it will cost to divorce so you will be prepared to have money on hand to pay for it.  (Understand that much of the cost of divorce is determined by the actions of the parties involved, not the attorney.  If you fight over every scrap, the bill will go up from any estimate you get.)   Additionally, an attorney will advise you on actions you should and should not take before filing as they may affect the outcome of your divorce.  An example of this is not to leave the marital home.  Lastly, an attorney will give you an idea of what to expect after you file and during the divorce.  The unknown is a lot scarier than if you know what to expect.

You want to keep your assets safe before you file for divorce.  Consider blocking your spouse’s access to credit cards that are in your name and closing joint accounts.  Taking an inventory of your assets, including bank accounts, real estate, collections, vehicles, jewelry and any other items of value is a good idea.

Do not move out of the marital home.  Stay where you are until your attorney can advise you. Leaving before you file can affect your access to the marital home later on.   If you leave your children with your spouse and move out of the home it can affect custody.  The only exception to this is if your spouse is violent, if this is the case, do whatever you need to in order to be safe.

Make an appointment with a therapist or marriage counselor and talk it over.  Even if your spouse will not participate in counseling, these sessions can help you see more clearly whether or not you want to take the step of divorce or whether rehabilitating your marriage is possible.

Nothing herein constitutes a legal opinion.

WOTV legal expert Gail Saukas

For more on Gail and her work visit the DAWN site here

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