If you’re thinking about getting divorced, you may be aware that it’s not always an easy and simple process. Although the paperwork itself can be taken care of quickly, the emotional and financial ramifications of the divorce can have repercussions on your life and lifestyle for years to come. The first thing you should do before filing for divorce is to take some time to assess your options and set yourself up for success during and after divorce proceedings. Here are eight things you should do before filing for divorce.
1. Gather Important Legal Documents
The first thing you should do before filing for divorce is to gather all of your important documents and make copies of them. Remember, in court, anything can happen, so it’s best to be prepared. If your marriage certificate is missing or not up-to-date, then it’s very possible that a judge may not accept it as proof of when you got married. Make sure that any financial documents, like bank statements or credit card bills, are also complete and up-to-date so there aren’t any surprises later on. If some of your important documents are missing, such as a social security card, birth certificate, or marriage license, you can request copies from the respective counties online or in person.
2. Find Other Living Arrangements
Before you take the step to decouple from your partner, first make sure that you have a safe and stable living situation to transition into. If you have friends or family members with a spare room, consider asking if they’re open to renting to you. Another common option is to rent a studio or one-bedroom apartment on a month-to-month lease. Once you find suitable living arrangements for your situation, ask to reserve it and come up with your own deposit. Once everything is booked and paid for, start looking into moving companies or helpers who will move your things into storage and set up your new place before you arrive.
Making sure that you have another place to stay when you serve your spouse with divorce papers will ensure that you can start to move on with your life. Having a stable home will make a huge difference in your emotional, physical, and mental health.
3. Have Your Mail Sent to a Different Location
If you’re seriously considering filing for divorce, you should start having your mail sent to a different location, whether it be a friend’s house or a P.O. box. This is to ensure that you can retain your privacy during the divorce process. As soon as you set up a P.O. box, then you can start using it for all written communication and forms regarding your divorce. However, until you move out, and set up a change of address form with the USPS, your existing mail will continue to be sent to your current address.
How To Obtain a P.O. Box in Arizona
- Find the most convenient USPS location to your work or new residence
- Choose which P.O. box size is right for you
- Fill out the USPS form 1093
- Bring two forms of valid U.S. identification
- Bring a credit or debit card that can be set up for autopay
4. Secure Reliable Transportation
Making sure that you have transportation is an important and yet often overlooked step before filing for divorce. If you don’t have access to reliable transportation, life becomes a lot more complicated in a hurry. If your car breaks down, you can’t get to work, pick up your kids from school, or go grocery shopping as easily. If you already have a vehicle, it is wise to take it to a mechanic for a tune-up and oil change so they can tell you if any repairs are needed. If you don’t already have dependable transportation, it makes sense to buy or lease one before moving forward with divorce proceedings.
5. Know Where You Stand Financially
Figure out how much money you and your spouse have in your separate accounts. Additionally, make sure that whoever handles your finances, such as an accountant, is up-to-date on your marital and living situations so they can inform you of any changes. If there are credit cards or other loans involved, get a handle on those too. Checking them daily will keep you updated on new charges, late payments, etc. and if there’s anything else that could impact your financial situation, whether it has to do with credit or otherwise (such as tax returns), find out about it now so you can stay informed and avoid surprises later on down the line.
Remember: If there are debts either one of you has incurred since getting married—or before, if an existing debt was mixed into your marital assets—the partner who doesn’t own that debt will likely not have to shoulder its burden post-divorce.
6. Keep Spending to a Minimum
Having two households will take a financial toll, so it’s important to keep your spending to a minimum before and during divorce proceedings. While your family may or may not be living together, try not to take out new loans or open new credit cards, if possible. This will make things easier on you when it comes time to divide assets and set child support payments. Make sure you understand all of your legal options: Your Arizona divorce lawyer will explain all of your legal options during your initial consultation, but having an understanding of these matters before meeting with him or her can make these conversations go more smoothly.
7. Seek Counseling From a Licensed Arizona Therapist
Whether you are the one filing for divorce or not, ending a marriage can be a stressful time and many people find it helpful to speak with a counselor. A therapist can help you better understand why your marriage is over and how to begin rebuilding your life after divorce. Sometimes just sitting down with someone who doesn’t know all of your personal details or life history can help provide some clarity on decisions that are looming in front of you. Talking through these decisions with a professional will help you feel more confident about moving forward with divorce proceedings. If you have insurance coverage or can afford out-of-pocket fees, counseling before filing for divorce might be worth looking into.
8. Hire an Experienced Arizona Divorce Attorney
The best way to start your divorce proceedings is to enlist the help of a skilled Arizona divorce lawyer. Hiring a divorce attorney doesn’t mean that you have done anything wrong; rather, it simply means that you have done your research and found someone who can help steer you through divorce proceedings so that you are prepared and know what to expect. With an attorney at your side, you will be able to focus on preparing yourself and your children for what is sure to be a difficult transition. If one of you has decided that he or she wants a divorce, then hiring an experienced Arizona family law attorney could put some of your fears at ease by making sure your rights are protected and safeguarding both parties’ interests during property division proceedings.
Contact Bryson Law Firm: Arizona’s East Valley Premier Divorce Attorney
If you are considering filing for divorce, contact Brent Bryson to schedule a consultation at his Mesa office. Brent will listen to your concerns, help you navigate how to best proceed with your divorce, and prepare you for divorce proceedings. Call (480) 813-0444 to take the first step, today.