When you’re considering a divorce, the idea of a new beginning can be frightening and confusing. Whether you or your partner initiated the divorce proceedings, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think about all that needs to happen. Having a checklist can be helpful in preparing for a life on your own.
Getting Started With Divorce: A Checklist
Divorce can be a complicated process, but there are ways to stay organized as you move through it. Here’s where you may want to begin:
- Start saving money. Divorce can be a big hit to your finances when you face losing your partner’s income, so start saving early if possible, especially if you’re going to be moving out of the shared home. You’ll want enough money for moving costs, daily living, attorney fees, court costs, and other related expenses.
- Gather your personal documents. You’ll want to locate your birth certificate and social security card, the social security numbers of your spouse and any children, the marriage certificate, any prenuptial agreements, insurance policy documents, and other records of any personal property.
- Collect your financial information. Gather your bank and credit card statements, check stubs or payroll receipts from your job, tax forms, investment account information, household expenses and other bills (such medical bills, child care, or tuition), vehicle registration, benefit accounts, mortgage or other loan documents, and other related paperwork. You may choose to make your own copies and store them in a safety deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member. That way, they can’t be found by your partner and raise questions you’re not ready to answer if you haven’t yet announced your desire for a divorce.
- Open a post office box. If you haven’t yet informed your spouse about your intentions, a post office box can be a secure place for you to receive mail privately. Although not strictly necessary, renting a P.O. box can also help make sure your mail service for vital documents is uninterrupted while you’re in the process of moving to a new home.
- Open your own bank accounts and credit cards. If you only have access to a shared bank account, consider opening new checking and savings accounts that are in your name only. The same goes for credit cards. It’s best to choose a different bank than the one that holds your joint accounts, to ensure that your spouse doesn’t have access.
- Find an attorney. Even the most amicable divorces need an attorney to handle the details. A family law attorney with extensive experience handling divorce cases can make the process go more smoothly for everyone and leave you more time to worry about the most important part of the divorce—taking care of yourself and your family.
If you have children, don’t forget to make a child care plan, too. Consider who will watch the kids during the divorce, if they’ll move with you or stay in the shared home, and the type of custody arrangements you want long-term. Thinking about these issues early will make it easier to come up with your parenting plan later.
Get Help With Your Divorce
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny know that a divorce presents a challenging time for many families, which is why we do our best to help our clients through every step of the process. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to guide you along the way to this new chapter of your life.
To get help with your divorce today, please call us, or use the contact form to send us an email and arrange a private consultation here in our Bellevue office to talk about what we can do for you and your family.