If you are a woman considering divorce, you should make some preparations before actually filing the papers. By preparing yourself and taking a few proactive steps, the entire divorce proceedings will run much more smoothly. Divorces have many caveats and are fraught with misstep, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. Below are some tips for any woman to follow if they are considering filing for divorce.
Tip #1 – Paperwork
If you are considering filing for divorce it is essential to gather up all of your paperwork first. Some women already have a copy of everything or currently maintain the household paperwork. Others have had no part of the running of the household. Whatever your situation, you need to find the following documents and make a copy of them for your records; bank account statements, credit card statements, investment statements, retirement account statements, mortgage statements, and tax returns for the previous three years. It is a good idea to have documentation of any other assets or debts you each have individually or in both your names.
Tip #2 – Finances
Before beginning the divorce process, it is important to know where you stand financially. You can do this by running a simple asset and debt comparison. This will list the assets held by your and your spouse against any debts outstanding by you and your spouse. Assets would include equity in your real estate holdings, investment accounts, and savings accounts. Your can then deduct the total amount of your debts from the total amount of your assets for a clear view of where you stand financially. This net worth is the true picture of what is actually divided in a divorce proceeding.
Tip #3 – Find a Lawyer
It is also essential to begin your search for an attorney to represent you throughout the divorce proceedings. A divorce attorney can also help guide you during these first stages of the divorce process. They can give advice, resources, and provide you with your options throughout the process. Many women wait until their spouse has already hired a divorce attorney, but then you are already at a disadvantage.
Tip #4 – The IRS
Prior to filing for divorce, and throughout the proceedings, it is important that you remain current on your taxes. This would include any outstanding filing that needs to be done, or any estimated payments or tax installment payments that need to be made. The IRS can hold up the entire divorce process if you fall behind. If you suspect your spouse is not filing the taxes properly you can file an amended return as a married person who is filing separately from their spouse. Your accountant and divorce attorney can help you with these details.
Tip #5 – Insurance
Insurance is often overlooked during the beginning stages of a divorce. You should gather up information on your health insurance, life insurance, vehicle, and any disability insurance you may have. These policies are probably held jointly with your spouse, and spouses are often listed as beneficiaries. Prior to filing for a divorce you should change over your policies to your name and update beneficiary information.
Having all of the details in place prior to filing for divorce will make the entire process smoother. Unpleasant surprises will be much less likely to crop up in regards to these financial matters. This will also give you more time to devote to your emotional and mental health during the proceedings. If you have children this will also free up your time to devote the time needed to help them through the divorce process. Preparing yourself will make it easier to complete an amicable divorce.