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Steps to Take Before You File for Divorce 

Divorce is a difficult process for someone to go through for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which being when the divorce is not exactly amicable. However, even in the case that it is an amicable divorce, there are still going to be things that you and your spouse have to work out before things are finalized. In this article, we will be talking about the steps that should be taken before filing for divorce.

What are the steps to take before you file for divorce?

Even if you think that things are going to be smooth sailing, it may still be worthwhile to have a competent divorce lawyer on your side (like divorce law firm Houston Texas) to make sure that your interests are protected and that you get a fair result from how things go in the divorce case. If you and your spouse legitimately think that the situation can be handled without litigation or without lawyers involved in general, you may be inclined to go ahead without them, but be careful that you are not taken advantage of in that case. Especially if you have children together. The divorce can get complicated as you have to consider whether a sole or joint child custody arrangement is best for them. As this is a delicate issue concerning the welfare of a child, you will need the insight of a lawyer about this. It may be more expensive to go with a lawyer than without one in the short term, but in the long term, you may find yourself eating more costs than you realize. A good lawyer will know how to respond to different situations, will try to end the situation as quickly as desired and as beneficial to you as possible, and, if the need arises, be able to vigorously defend you if things escalate. A good piece of advice for when you do start to pick a divorce attorney is to not rush into your choice. What might seem like the best pick on the surface may end up not fulfilling your needs in the end. Try to interview multiple prospects before you make any major decisions about this.

The next step, whether you are working with a divorce attorney or not, is to square away exactly what each spouse is expected to gain in the end. A good divorce lawyer can ensure that whatever result you achieve is ultimately equitable, and this will be of the utmost importance should your future ex-spouse decide that they have no desire for you to get an equitable distribution of the finances. Make sure you understand though that it is not just money that you have to be mindful of, but also assets. For example, if one spouse decides to stay in the house you two once shared, they may be expected to pay the difference, either in money or other assets, in order to ensure that you get value from your contributions to the household and that they can continue living in the household. Also be sure to figure out exactly what you and your current spouse own and get an understanding with your spouse about this, as it will make things a lot easier. The finances are not going to be all positive, however; if you have any debts for instance, either under your name or under theirs, as part of the relationship, it will be expected that the two of you will shoulder the responsibility of the ownership of that debt together. The exact specifics of this may vary from state to state, so be sure that you are fully cognizant of how the laws operate where you live.

Next up is to gather proof of income for both you and your spouse. This is a lot easier when the both of you are trying to find that amicable solution, but if there is animosity between the two of you, it will likely not be a trifling matter. If you can get this done as soon as possible, i.e., before divorce is even on the table, it may help you in determining your spouse’s income in the event that they try to obfuscate their true income after the divorce process has begun. On this note, you should also be very mindful of joint financial accounts. If, for instance, you have a lot of money stored away in an account that your spouse is able to access and you fail to take it out before filing for divorce, you may find your spouse withdrawing that money. It is not at all uncommon for a jilted spouse to do this in order to punish you for leaving or for, in their eyes, being the reason the relationship did not work out. In anticipation of this, you would be well advised to remove half of the income and put it in an account that you alone have access to. Not even to spend it necessarily, but to ensure that if your spouse does get any funny ideas, that the funny ideas will be a detriment to them and not you. Also make sure that you close any joint credit accounts you may share, as you do not want to be on the hook for them.

Finally, you need to know what you want to do. Do you want to stay? Do you want to leave? How financially capable of leaving are you? Will you have somewhere to go? These are all questions people considering divorce have to weigh, and ones that a qualified Woodridge divorce lawyer can help answer.