Skip to main content

How Can You Prepare for Divorce?

Posted by attorney John Zinda

Some divorces are messy. Thankfully, with the right mindset and preparations, your divorce does not have to be a nightmare--it does not have to be a dragged out, painful process you suffer through. Here are several steps you can take to make this transition a lot less bumpy.

  • Gather records and documents immediately
  • Obtain the names, addresses, phone numbers and account information for all assets and debts (home mortgage, bank accounts, credit cards, insurance, pensions, stocks and bonds, bills, loans, investments, etc.)
  • Open a separate bank account
  • Store your valuables safely
  • Cancel all joint credit cards and accounts
  • Stay in the house
  • Don’t let your spouse take the children and move out
  • Work out a temporary custody and visitation schedule

When thinking through your assets or property, a good mental checklist to consider is the following:

  • Real property
  • Mineral interests
  • Cash and accounts with financial institutions
  • Publicly traded stock, bonds and securities
  • Business interests
  • Retirement benefits
  • Insurance and annuities
  • Motor vehicles
  • Money owed by spouse
  • Household furnishings
  • Electronics
  • Antiques and collectibles
  • Sporting goods and firearms
  • Jewelry
  • Animals and livestock
  • Farming equipment
  • Club memberships
  • Travel award benefits (frequent flyer miles)
  • Safe deposit box items
  • Burial plots
  • Items in storage
  • Separate property (prior to marriage, gifts, etc.)
  • Liabilities- mortgages, credit card debt, taxes owed, personal loans

Monitoring the mail, having your personal mail sent to another address and setting up your own medical and dental insurance are other good steps you should consider.

While you make many financial arrangements, don’t forget that your children need you more now than ever. Refrain from heated discussions, visible conflict and legal discussions in front of the children. Try to keep their world as “normal" as possible. Here's a helpful word of wisdom to keep in mind:Get your kids’ pictures out of your billfolds and blow them up and put them on the wall." If you have children, their best interests should remain your priority throughout the case. Questions such as, "where will they live? How will visitation work? and what kind of financial support will they receive?" are all questions you should be asking from the get-go. Your children will most likely want other questions answered such as Do I have to change schools? Will I still see my friends? Can I still participate in sports/activities?

Ultimately, getting a divorce attorney on your side is the best decision you can make, because it can provide you with a lot of peace of mind and can allow you to get all of your legal questions answered in an efficient, trustworthy manner. When your life, finances and family’s livelihood are on the line, don’t leave your future in the hands of someone who is less than competent.

Additional resources provided by the author

Author of this guide:

Was this guide helpful?

Avvo divorce email series

Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.

Recommended articles about Divorce

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer