The holidays have past and you’ve decided this is the time to file for dissolution of marriage from your spouse. There are several important tips and ideas that you should consider and incorporate in your march towards dissolving your marriage to make the process more cost effective and efficient.
First, work on a plan for custody and visitation regarding your children, assuming that there are minor children of this marriage. A well considered and thought out parenting plan for your children will hopefully minimize the stress and grief that your children may suffer as a result of the decision that you have made to dissolve your marriage. Take into account the level of access and interaction that your children have with your spouse today. One of the best thought out parenting plans is to ensure that your children have the same access to you and your spouse after the divorce as they have today. Keep in mind that your children love you and your spouse and want nothing more than to have a good relationship with both of you. Your children will never have a new set of parents so it is important that your consideration in crafting a parenting plan takes that thought process into account.
Are you prepared to be able to provide copies of tax returns, credit card statements, mortgage payments, copies of the mortgage, copies of your mortgage statements and all other related financial documents in the exchange of financial information with your spouse? The law requires you to prepare and exchange the disclosure of financial information, assets and debts included, to your spouse. This includes providing copies of all statements that are relevant to support the values that you have disclosed to your spouse. This would be a good time to make sure that your financial house is in order; that you have copies of the mortgage, mortgage statements, bank statements, credit card statements and all other related important statements regarding assets and debts that were acquired prior to and during marriage.
When was the last time that you prepared a budget for yourself? Supporting two households is difficult and the cost to do so means that neither one of you will likely live at the
same standard that you did during the marriage. A budget is essential to determine what your costs will be and to determine the level of funds that you will need, either in terms of child support, spousal support and a job to be able to make ends meet. Conversely, it is also true that you may be required to pay child support and/or spousal support depending on who the higher earner is in the marriage. If you are the party who will continue to support the family a budget is necessary to determine if you can support yourself and still provide for yourself. Regardless if you are the spouse who will receive support or the spouse who will pay support, you should consider working on a budget.
In addition, there are other considerations to take into account in filing for dissolution of marriage, such as, who is going to vacate the primary residence and where will the other party who is vacating the residence live, what is the proximity to the primary residence, what is the proximity to the schools and other places that relate to the children to give both parents equal access to the children.
On an emotional level, it is important to have a support network. This will not be an easy process for either spouse and it may involve a high level of emotional trauma as you proceed through the process. Establishing and creating a support network for yourself is essential. You may want to consider a mental health professional to help you and your children transition through this process.
With some simple planning and forward thinking, you can get through this process with the least amount of emotional trauma and financial hardship as you might otherwise have encountered had you not done any pre-planning. Just as you planned for your wedding, you should also seriously consider planning for your divorce.