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5 things you should do before filing for divorce

Making the move to end your marriage is not an easy decision—especially if you have been married a long time or have children. The divorce process also can seem so overwhelming. Who will live where? How will child custody work? How will divorce impact your monthly budget and retirement savings?

Before getting anxious about what life will look like after a divorce, you first need to be better prepared before filing for divorce.

Here are five ways you can do that when filing for divorce.

  1. Gather your financial information. Get your mortgage documents and loan information together and get a current valuation on your home. This will help you determine how much money one spouse will need to buy the other out if one of you plan on keeping the marital home. Also, get all your documentation together for any debts (credit cards, car loans or other property) or assets (retirement accounts, savings or investments). These will give you a full picture of your financial situation before you start dividing assets with a spouse.
  2. Hire an experienced divorce attorney. You want an attorney you feel comfortable with—who is compassionate and yet will work hard to get you a fair settlement. If you feel you and your spouse can divorce through mediation, find an attorney who handles that.
  3. Stay off social media. If your divorce ends up becoming contentious, you want to be very careful what you post on social media. If you are battling a spouse over assets, how will it look in court if you’ve recently posted pictures on Facebook of you enjoying an elaborate vacation? According to the National Law Review, 81% of divorce attorneys find something worth presenting in court on social media outlets.
  4. Set your priorities. What can you live without as you divide assets in the divorce? Are you willing to give up some retirement savings to have a child custody agreement that favors you more? Now is the time to decide what’s important to you so you know areas you are willing to negotiate about with your former spouse.
  5. Create a post-divorce budget. Once you have a better picture of what assets you may keep after a divorce, create a post-divorce budget. More than likely, your expenses will increase after your divorce and you want to plan for that.

Your life will seem topsy-turvy as you go through divorce. However, having a solid understanding of what your finances will look like after divorce will help you. So, will having a good attorney who can guide you as you work through diving your assets with your spouse and, if you are a parent, setting up a child custody plan.

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