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3 steps to take before you file for divorce

You’ll always find a lot of information telling you what to do once you file for a divorce, but do you know what to do before you file? There are several things you should do before you give those divorce papers to your spouse, because being prepared can help your case in the long run.

When you’re preparing for divorce, the things you should do include getting copies of your financial documents, determining what you own outright and preparing an after-divorce budget.

Get copies of your financial documents

The first thing to do is to get copies of as many of your financial documents as possible. This includes things like your retirement documents, your spouse’s retirement documents, information on stocks, your bank account information, debt information and other financial items. You’ll need these to put together a budget and to separate your assets and debts during your divorce.

Determine what you own

After this, it’s important to determine what you own. Separate property is usually property that you owned before marriage. Some kinds of property like inheritances, may also be separate.

Prepare an after-divorce budget

Finally, prepare an after-divorce budget. You need to know what your expenses are as well as what kind of income you’ll be bringing in. Then, you’ll be in a better place to talk to your attorney about the assets you need or if you think you need spousal support.

Gathering this information before you talk to your spouse is important, because it can become harder to get it once you or they leave the home and passwords are changed. It might be much more difficult to locate assets or accounts once you talk to your spouse about getting divorce, so do all you can to gather this information before you seek a divorce.

Get to know your legal rights and options before you file for divorce. Once you speak with an attorney, you’ll have more information about the documents they’ll need and what you should or should not do to protect your case. Preparing in advance may help you make a smoother transition from married to single life.