The holiday season is now over and it is not uncommon that couples contemplating divorce decide to do so after the holidays. If you and your spouse have already decided that a divorce is inevitable, there are a few ways you can start to prepare for what lays ahead.
The following are a few things to consider as you take the New Year head on and prepare for your divorce:
- Start collecting all of your financial documents. Some may not arrive until the end of January, but begin to gather your W-2s, 401(k) statements, bank statements, etc.
- Make sure that you each have a copy of your income tax returns from the past three years. If you do not have a physical copy of them you can call your accountant to send them along.
- Establish your own individual credit card and individual bank account if you have not already done so.
- Speak to an attorney regarding any initial financial decisions. Transferring assets of any nature before you file for divorce is discouraged because it looks like you are trying to hide assets. It is important to understand that during the course of the divorce you are required to provide full financial disclosure of any asset to which you have an interest. This is the case for any asset that is held in your name individually or jointly, however, it also applies for any asset that is held in the name of a third party for your benefit.
- Sort out your health insurance information as it will play a role in your divorce, whether you have children or not.
- If children are involved, the impact of a divorce will greatly disrupt a child’s life. His or her routine is going to be changed and life may be unstable for a period of time. Adjusting is not going to be easy. Learn to operate in a civil manner with your spouse to create a positive environment for the children.
- Begin sorting out parenting schedules and co-parenting strategies.
- Maintain old traditions with the children if it works for everyone involved but don’t be afraid to create new traditions as well.
- In some cases it helps to inform your children’s teachers that you are going through a divorce. This is especially true if habits or performance begins to change in the classroom.
- Inform close friends and family about the decision you and your spouse have made.
- Remember that it’s okay to feel sad or upset about your situation but that everything really will be okay in the long run.
Kicking off the New Year thinking that your marriage “failed” doesn’t seem like the ideal situation; but staying organized, remaining civil, and staying in a routine will help to approach the divorce efficiently. There are many issues to contemplate during divorce, be sure to seek out the help of an experienced divorce attorney during this difficult transition.