May, 2016

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Steps to Take Before Filing for Divorce

Following a Checklist of Essential Steps

If you and your spouse are facing the possibility of a divorce, you are probably already feeling stressed and anxious. Although getting a divorce is never easy, there are a few steps you can take to make the process easier on you and the rest of your family.

Gather Financial Information and Index Your Assets

Before you file for divorce, you need to know where you stand financially. If you and your spouse have joint accounts, you need to gather all of the documents related to those accounts. Make copies of everything that you can find, including tax returns, insurance documents and income statements. This is also a good time to take stock of your assets. Writing out a list of your property will help you divide it later.

Prepare a Budget

After the divorce is complete, your standard of living may change considerably. You need to be prepared for handling bills, mortgage payments and groceries with your new financial reality. Tracking regular expenses before you file for divorce is a good way to prepare for future spending.

Build a Support Team

Surrounding yourself with a solid support team before the divorce begins is a good way to prepare yourself for the emotional turmoil that you may face. Family members who live nearby, for example, can lend a sympathetic ear to your cause. Having the phone numbers of a few babysitters can help you deal with court appointments without having to worry about childcare.

Consider the Future

When you file for divorce, there are a number of essential tasks that you, your spouse and the judge will need to work through, including asset division and child custody. Thinking about the future ahead of time can help you prepare for the eventual changes. For example, you need to think about what to do with your house if you both own it. If you have children, you need to think about meeting their needs before you’re faced with discussing the details of child custody before the judge.

Talk to a Lawyer

Although you can find plenty of help books and information about divorce online, talking to a lawyer is the best way to get insights into your unique situation. A lawyer can help you make good decisions in the lead up to the actual proceedings, including whether you should continue to live at home.

Wilka & Welter, LLP is a law firm located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with over forty years of experience. Our law firm specializes in many family law topics, including divorce and child custody. If you are facing the daunting process of a divorce, contact us today for help.