A divorce is not a small undertaking. You will face emotional turmoil, paperwork, asset division, debt settlement and a drastically altered future. However, knowing what steps to take can help you navigate the process.
Here are the steps you must take when going through a divorce.
1. Find help
Ideally, you want to avoid litigation. That is because this can complicate your divorce and make it more expensive. However, you should take the time to weigh the pros and cons of this approach. After all, negotiation is a viable alternative.
In this case, consider hiring a mediator to help. This approach is collaborative and is great for couples who want to avoid court, but have complex issues they cannot agree on. You may also want to hire other professionals, such as a financial planner and co-parenting counselor.
2. Gather financial information
You need a clear idea of your financial standing before making any decisions regarding asset or debt division. The basic definitions of marital and separate property is general divorce knowledge. For example, the marital home, financial accounts and vehicles are obvious things that you need to split fairly. Not-so-obvious items include valuable artwork, pensions, inheritances and pre-marital belongings.
3. Determine income
Gather documentation showing your income and that of your spouse. That generally includes copies of your most recent pay stubs and tax returns. If you or your spouse is self-employed, this step can be challenging. In this case, you should gather bank account statements and business financial documents. That can portray a more accurate picture of income when one spouse is self-employed.
Make this time easier on yourself by spending time with your family, friends and children. Stay close to home and take care of yourself physically and emotionally.