We are well into the new year, and while some people are making resolutions to get healthier, others may be contemplating divorce. In honor of January being national “Get Organized” Month, we offer a checklist that hopefully helps you prepare for the tasks ahead. It’s hard enough anticipating months of uncertainty. Whatever you can prepare in advance can be small steps to ease your stress and anxiety.
Make a list of issues that need to be resolved.
It’s helpful to write down the issues that need to be discussed and resolved during a divorce proceeding. Here are some common topics that couples generally need to consider.
- How will assets be divided?
- How will the debt be divided?
- Will spousal support need to be considered?
- What is best for the children (e.g. custody, parenting time, support, insurance, school, etc.?
While it is often most effective for couples to reach an agreement on these issues outside of court, if they are unable to negotiate successfully then a judge will make the decisions.
Your divorce attorney could help you compile a list of all the issues you will need to consider and resolve during the divorce process.
Make a list of all sources of income.
A large part of the divorce process involves the assessment and allocation of finances. Make a list of all income, including information that may be needed for verification. For instance, when listing employment, make note of the employer’s name, address, and length of time employed. It is a good idea to list income sources for the past three years.
In addition to both of your regular salaries, be sure to include overtime, bonuses, and other income such as unemployment or disability payments. You may also have income from investments or side jobs.
It is also helpful to set aside amounts for extra expenses such as legal fees and separate living arrangements while you are reviewing your income
Make a list of your assets.
You will need to have a list of all the property you own, including real estate, bank accounts, retirement funds, cars, furniture, etc. While you are listing the property that you own, make notes about whether the property is something you had before you got married or acquired as a family gift or inheritance. These items may be considered your separate individual property that will not need to be shared with your ex.
Write down account numbers and approximate values for major assets. Also, think about which items are most important to you and which items you would be willing to give up.
Make a list of your debts.
During the divorce process, you will need to allocate all debts as well as assets. To prepare, make a list of all debts with account numbers and the amount that remains to be paid. This includes credit card debt, student loans, mortgages, vehicle loans, and money you may have borrowed from family or friends.
Remember to take care of yourself.
The mental, emotional, and physical strain of the divorce process can quickly take its toll on your health. Remember to make time for your own needs and the needs of your family. Seek counseling if you’re uncomfortable talking to your friends or family. Keeping up with exercise routines and favorite rituals, or creating new ones can help improve your mental health. The divorce may be a big part of your life at the moment, but it is not the only part. Keep looking ahead toward the next chapter in your life.
Find the right attorney to help you identify the most peaceful solution.
An attorney experienced in handling divorce in Georgia can assist with many preparatory steps as well as negotiating on your behalf during the process. If your soon-to-be-ex is a bully who is unlikely to compromise, then you may want to look for a lawyer who is used to fighting every issue in court. If you think your spouse may be willing to negotiate to stay out of court, then an attorney who handles collaborative divorce would be a better choice.
Divorce can be overwhelming. The experienced team at Tessie D. Edwards & Associates understands how to guide you through the process to reach a solution that’s best for you and your family. Contact us now for a confidential consultation to learn how we can help you move forward.