Steps to Take Before Filing a Petition for Divorce
A petition for divorce may come as a surprise, but often there are warning signs and discussions ahead of time. If your marriage is headed toward a dissolution, take the time to prepare by learning about the process, gathering paperwork and resources you will need later, and beginning to separate personal and financial entanglements.
Divorce is not pleasant and neither is preparing for one. However, taking some preparatory steps before it begins will help you prepare for the future. A dissolution may seem overwhelming, but you do not need to go through it alone. Speak with a divorce lawyer in Stuart, FL, to learn about steps that would be helpful in your situation.
Lay Groundwork Before Filing for Divorce
The divorce process can feel like a bit of a whirlwind, and for good reason. Whether you were married for months, years, or decades, you will have a relatively short amount of time to separate the strands of the life you built together. To retain a bit of control through the situation, take some of these steps.
Learn about the steps involved
Is it likely that your spouse will not respond to the petition for divorce or cannot be found? There are specific steps to follow to receive a default judgment. There will be more issues to work out if you share children or a business.
While friends and relatives may discuss the problems they encountered when going through a divorce, consider speaking with an experienced divorce lawyer for a more balanced view. A lawyer who has represented many clients through their Florida divorces will be able to provide informed guidance on what you can expect. You may even want to speak with a counselor who can help you through the complex emotions that the process might conjure up.
Gather what you need as soon as possible
Once the divorce is filed, it can be a lot harder to gather financial documents, money, or other resources. One of the first things that the court will do is enter an order prohibiting either party from depleting, concealing, or disposing of marital or separate assets. Unfortunately, some spouses still try to do so.
Print off bank and other account records and set aside some money ahead of time, in case your spouse attempts to wrongfully restrict access later. Make copies of birth certificates, your marriage license, any agreements related to the marriage, and leases and documents for accounts that you share. If you have shared passwords to personal accounts, it might be a good idea to change them. Take an inventory (with photos, ideally) of personal items that you believe should remain with you as separate property.
Begin to establish your separate identity
The ties between you and your spouse likely cross on many fronts – friendships, financial accounts, parenting duties, everyday shopping accounts, and more. Where possible, begin to establish yourself as an individual. Change documents listing your spouse as a beneficiary. Begin to open separate accounts – anything from a bank account to store loyalty cards – in your name only. Consider arranging for a separate mailing address to use for these changes.
Speak With an Experienced Stuart, FL Divorce Attorney
If you have questions about what the divorce process will look like, call The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker today. We are here to help you understand your rights and guide you through this process every step of the way.