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The decision to file for divorce is one of the most significant you will ever make. It will have lasting effects for not only you and your former spouse, but for your children as well. That is why it is so important to have all your ducks in a row, so to speak, before broaching the topic of divorce with your significant other.

If you or someone you know is considering a dissolution of marriage, let this article be a quick guide to preparing yourself properly.

GET FAMILIAR WITH JOINT ASSETS
Whether you are directly involved with managing the monthly household finances or not, it is advisable to get a general idea of your family’s typical monthly expenses. Gather copies of bank statements, mortgage documents, pay stubs for both parties, credit card information and any other financial statements you can find. This is also the time to consider the specifics of any prenuptial agreements.

PROTECT YOURSELF
Open your own bank account, preferably at a different bank so you can move money into it right before you file. It is also a good idea to start having your paychecks directly deposited into this new account. Even if you are not the employed spouse, do not hesitate to take the money that you and your children will need to survive.

CONSIDER CUSTODY
In any marital situation that involves children it is of the utmost importance that you consider how post-divorce custody will work. Does your partner have drug or alcohol abuse issues? Is he or she someone you trust to raise your child outside of your supervision? Depending on your answer to these questions you may want to start compiling evidence against your spouse, or taking steps to improve your own parental performance.

BE READY TO FILE
If you have reached the end of the line in your marriage, don’t be afraid to file the divorce papers. Depending on who files first, the issues you want decided by the court may not be heard at the time that benefits you most. In other words, timing is very important.

TALK TO A FAMILY LAWYER
Before you file for divorce, speak to an established lawyer who is knowledgeable in family law. He or she will advise you on what to expect and how to inform your spouse that you are filing. A good attorney will also prepare a strategic plan to protect your best interests and the best interests of your children. Click here to schedule a free initial consultation with Charles Branton, an experienced Northshore family law attorney and certified mediator.

DO THE RIGHT THING
Take the high road and be patient. Do not talk to your children about what is going on and never badmouth your co-parent to them. None of your private relationship issues should be discussed with them for any reason. You should also avoid dating until the divorce is final and your children are ready to accept a new person into their lives. Dating too soon can also complicate your divorce and potentially be used against you in future custody hearings.  

DO NOT POST TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Perhaps the most important bit of advice when preparing for a divorce is to avoid airing your dirty laundry. Resist the urge to post about the divorce on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. That means no venting your frustrations about your former spouse, the court, opposing counsel, or the entire situation in general. Many people do not realize that social media content is public and admissible in court—that means your tweets, check-ins, and Facebook status updates can be printed, blown up, and exhibited as evidence in court.

Charles Branton has over 30 years of experience in Family Law and is a certified mediator.

Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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