Steps to Take to Prepare for Divorce
Kentucky has the sixth highest divorce rate in the country. While this is certainly nothing to celebrate, it’s also something you shouldn’t feel too bad about if it happens to you. Many times, if a marriage isn’t working out, the best choice for all involved is to pursue a divorce.
If you’re thinking about divorcing your spouse, or if you’ve just been served divorce papers, it’s important to know what you can expect from the process. Many people find it valuable to consult with a family law attorney. If you’re in or around Elizabethtown, Kentucky, give us a call at Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, and we’ll help answer all your questions about preparing for a divorce.
Considerations Before Filing
If you’re considering divorce, it’s likely you’ve already tried to reconcile your differences with your spouse and divorce now seems like the only option. However, if you haven’t explored other solutions, it’s worthwhile to think about counseling — either individually or as a couple — before deciding to proceed with the divorce. Even if the counseling doesn’t end up saving your marriage, you’ll likely come away with a new understanding about yourself and one another that can help you work through your separation in a healthy way.
You should also consider the type of divorce you have ahead of you. Is it possible your spouse will contest it? Or is your spouse in agreement and likely to be a reasonable participant? Do you anticipate the need for a mediator? These questions can help you mentally prepare for the future and start putting support in place that you think you might need.
Lastly, you'll want to think about your living situation. Will you be able to cohabit with your spouse while your divorce is ongoing, or will one of you need to move out immediately? Do you have somewhere to go if you need to? If you have children, who will stay with them?
Preparing for the Divorce Process
While each couple’s divorce will look slightly different, there are some basic steps to take to prepare for divorce that will help speed up the process and get you thinking about the decisions that lay ahead of you.
Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney
In almost all cases — even when the separation is largely amicable — you’ll want to consult with a qualified family law attorney. An attorney can simply be someone you consult with on a few of your larger questions, or they can be there for you to walk you through the entire process. If you know your spouse has hired a lawyer, you should retain one yourself to ensure you are fairly represented.
Gather Personal and Legal Information
Untangling two lives from one another takes time and effort, and the sooner you get started, the easier it will be. Make copies of basic personal information for you and your spouse, like proof of residency, employment, as well as recent personal and business tax returns. You’ll need all of this to work out the division of assets. There are a lot of decisions you’ll be making in the coming months that can affect you for the rest of your life, and a thoughtful lawyer can help you see the big picture of these choices.
Assess Financial Situation
If you’ve been married for some time, you likely share finances with your spouse. This could include bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, insurance policies, and debts. Gather documentation about these accounts and determine how much is currently in them.
You’ll also have to consider how you’ll proceed without having a spouse who may be providing income for you. Will you be able to support yourself? Will you be asking for or have to pay alimony?
Alimony (called ‘maintenance’ in Kentucky) is not always required, but if one spouse has been the breadwinner and the other has stayed home to raise children, it’s often the case that the employed spouse will have to subsidize the other’s income for a while. You may consider speaking with a financial planner at this point, too.
Identify Personal/Married Property
One of the most complicated and potentially sensitive tasks of a divorce is dividing assets. This is especially true if you’ve been married for many years and have acquired property together. Make a list of all your property including things that are jointly owned and start thinking about how you’d like to see them divided and what you think should rightly be yours. This can include house(s), vehicles, household items, or personal belongings. It can also help to gather documentation for these purchases that show purchase dates and amounts, or mortgage statements that can help you determine how much equity you have in your home.
Depend on Our Team at Caleb Bland Law, PLLC for Guidance
If you’re at the beginning of a divorce and want help understanding the process and what to expect, our attorneys are here to help. We proudly serve clients from our offices in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, but can help those all around the area including Hardin County, Meade County, Grayson County, Breckinridge County, Nelson County, LaRue County, Hart County, Bullitt County, and Jefferson County. Call us today to set up an appointment.