If you and your spouse decide your marriage is not working anymore, you may already be anxious about the divorce process. But what about the process before the actual divorce even starts? Is pre-divorce preparation something you need to worry about?
In short, yes. However, you may not have to stress over it as much as you think. Here’s what steps you might want to take before the divorce even starts.
Many people are not aware of their current situation. Before the divorce you should start learning about your financial situation. Start learning about what property you own and what assets you have. You should also figure out what debts or loans you and your soon-to-be-ex have and what your retirement plan looks like.
Being in-the-know about your current situation can help you navigate the divorce process more quickly, with less confusion. If you don’t know where you stand right now, you might not know where you want to go or what you need to get there.
Part of being informed should also involve gathering certain information. You will want to have some documents on hand before the divorce process starts, so you are not scrambling to find them later on.
Copies of your tax return, mortgage and other loans, 401k plan and income/pay stubs will come in handy when you start to figure out how to divide your assets during a divorce.
Gather any documents you think are important and may be relevant to the divorce beforehand, so they can help you later on.
Think about what you need
Considering your wants and needs is another important step in preparing for a divorce. Your life will change after a divorce. You should go into the process knowing what you want and need out of it. If there are certain things you can part with and other things you absolutely want to keep from your marriage make note of them.
Having an idea of what you can let go of and what you need to keep can help in the negotiation stage of a divorce. It may speed up the process and help you move on faster.
If you have children, you might also want to start thinking about a custody arrangement. Do you want to share custody? What do you think needs to go in a parenting plan?
Divorce can be emotionally and mentally draining, so you might not want to think about all the preparation you need to do before the process itself. However, being well-prepared can actually help take some of the stress away from the divorce itself.