You’ve made the decision to file for divorce – or you have just been served with divorce papers – now what? Below we have outlined some simple steps to help you get started. Although every relationship is different and no two divorces are alike, these general rules can apply in many situations. For more effective results, talk to a divorce attorney as soon as possible to help you understand your options and the best course of action to take at this time.
Divorce Planning Tips
- Gather All Financial Statements & Records. Divorce involves scrutiny of all marital assets, so start gathering all of your financial documents such as your income documents, assets, credit cards statements, tax returns, and other assets or liabilities
- Get Organized. It helps to create separate folders for your divorce documents and to make copies of everything – one of you and several copies for your attorney.
- Have a Plan. Think about how to approach your children and how to handle issues like living with your spouse until your divorce is over, or whether one of you should move out. If you are in a situation involving abuse, consult a professional so you have an exit plan and support system in place.
- Know Your Budget. Divorce can sometimes be expensive, especially if you and your spouse are facing a contested divorce and end up going to trial. You never want to end up in a situation where your divorce leaves you in serious debt. Start putting some money aside to pay for legal fees and plan for how to manage your finances after divorce
- Open up a P.O. Box. For spouses who are moving out of the marital home, set up a P.O. box so you have a way to access important mail.
- Change Your Beneficiaries. If you have a will, trust, or other estate planning documents, it is likely that you have listed your spouse as your beneficiary. If you do not want your spouse to inherit your estate, you should change your beneficiaries as soon as possible.
- Create Separate Bank Accounts. If you do not have a separate account already, it is recommended that you open credit cards and bank accounts in your name to deposit your paychecks and other funds. But be careful of transferring large sums before the divorce is over – talk to an attorney about how to handle your assets first.
- Hire an Attorney. Start shopping around for attorneys to find a legal professional who is right for you. Ask about the attorney’s approach, legal experience, and whether they have handled cases similar to yours.
Step-by-Step Guidance from Skilled Fresno Divorce Attorneys
While divorce can be incredibly emotional, confusing, and overwhelming process, planning ahead and taking small steps can feel empowering. It is important that you have full legal and emotional support throughout the process. At the Arnold Law Group, APC, our divorce lawyers in Fresno can provide hands-on guidance throughout your divorce. From our initial consultation all the way to the completion of your divorce settlements, we can navigate your divorce with you.
For help with your divorce, call our Fresno family law team today at (559) 900-1263 .