Whether you and your spouse have discussed the possible end of your marriage in detail or you are silently debating your options, once divorce becomes inevitable, there are several steps you need to take to protect your interests during the divorce process. Before filing, set yourself up for success with these tips:
1. Begin Building Your Credit
Spouses often discover post-divorce that they have built up their spouse’s credit while neglecting their own. Without a good credit score, down payments for utilities and housing are often significantly higher, if you are able to get approved in the first place. Open a credit card now and use it to make small purchases that you can pay off each month. The goal is not to create a pile of debt; it is to prepare yourself for future success.
2. Understand the Family Finances
For property division and support payments, it is imperative to understand what you own and what you owe. Gather important documents like your credit report, paycheck stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. This information will not only help a judge determine whether you are eligible for spousal maintenance to cover your family’s financial needs, but it will also assist you in creating a post-divorce budget.
3. Prevent Revenge Spending
If at all possible, pay off and close any joint credit card accounts and open separate bank accounts. Inform creditors of the divorce. If you cannot pay off a card or loan, negotiate a deal to reduce the amount owed while you work to close the account. If neither of these is an option, freeze all accounts to prevent further usage.
4. Remember: You are Not Single Yet
Avoid partying, dating, or staying up until the wee hours of the morning, especially if kids are involved. As always, your children should be your first priority. Remember that divorce is stressful for them, too. How you conduct yourself during your case can affect the decisions made about child custody. If you have a romantic interest, it is often best to wait to pursue that relationship until after the divorce is final.
5. Contact a Divorce Lawyer
Do-it-yourself divorces never end up as quick and easy as they may seem, nor do they save money in the long run. Many of these cases result in long courtroom battles and repeated post-divorce modifications. Our suggestion is to speak to a proven DuPage County divorce attorney. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we can help you understand whether you may be able to use methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) such as mediation. This may help you reach a shorter and more amicable solution than a divorce through litigation, and it can empower you and your spouse to create your own divorce agreement. However, this avenue sometimes fails, and litigation in court becomes necessary.
Since 1996, our attorneys have been helping clients reach the outcome they need in both ADR and divorce litigation. We can help you understand your rights and requirements during divorce and work with you to reach a positive resolution to your case. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.