Divorce Checklist: Things To Do BEFORE Filing For Divorce

Going through a divorce is a very difficult life transition. There’s a whirlwind of emotions, things to consider regarding custody and spousal support, separation of assets and debts – the whole process can be overwhelming. And no matter what the circumstances are, most people are unprepared for the changes and surprises that come-up during separation and divorce.

There are certain steps that you can take to better prepare yourself for the journey towards your new future before filing for a divorce.

Know your assets & liabilities

When you get divorced, the court can (and will) divide marital assets, as well as martial liabilities/debts, no matter whose name the property or debt is under. Marital property is typically anything acquired from the date of marriage and excluding non-comingled personal gifts and inheritances; while marital debt is debt acquired from the date of marriage to separation. By knowing exactly what you and your spouse own and owe, you will be better equipped for divorce negotiations and can ensure you receive everything you are entitled to.

Know your spouse’s income

Knowing exactly how much your spouse earns will be a critical factor when it comes to many issues in your divorce. Things like child support and spousal support all revolve on how much your spouse (and you) earn. Tracking down what your spouse earns may be no easy task; and while their tax return is a great place to start, it should be just the beginning of your investigation.

Account for personal property

It may seem silly, but walk around your house and take inventory of all household items that either belong to you personally (family heirlooms, furniture you purchased before the marriage, etc.) or that is considered marital property, but that you really would like to keep. A judge does not want to (and typically won’t) divide-up each and every piece of property that you and your spouse own. By making a list of those items you specifically want, your attorney can negotiate to obtain them for you, in a divorce settlement.

Do NOT simply move out

If you are a victim of domestic abuse you should move out of the martial home. If you are not, try to avoiding moving out of the marital home before your divorce is finalized. Obtaining a divorce can take many months and even years; and if you move out, you run the risk of being accused of deserting the marriage. You may also hurt your chances of obtaining alimony and having your spouse sell or otherwise dispose of your personal property. If you feel that remaining in the marital home is simply unbearable, then at least consult with a family law attorney before doing so.

If you are considering separation or divorce, you need the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney who you can count on, to guide you through the divorce process, both before and after filing a divorce petition. At the DiPietro Family Law Group, our attorneys have years of experience representing clients in divorce and all other family law issues, and we are here to provide you with compassionate and quality legal services. Call us today for a consultation at (703) 370-5555 or visit us online.

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