Give Yourself the Tools: 5 Things to Prepare for a Divorce in the Upcoming Year

If your marriage has been an unhappy one for awhile, the coming of the New Year may inspire you to make a positive change. Filing for divorce will cause you to experience a gamut of emotions, from grief and sadness to relief and hope, but once it’s over, you will be able to rebuild and be happier than before.

Like all major life changes, divorce requires preparation. You have to gather certain records to understand your present financial standing and make changes that reflect your transition from married to single. These five steps will help you get there.

  1. Gather all financial records and inventory marital assets

Start collecting financial records, such as checking and savings account information, credit card bills, and mortgage statements, and make copies of each for safekeeping. Examine bank and credit card documents for any unusual transactions or large purchases that you don’t recognize, and make note of them for future investigation. At the same time, find receipts or purchase statements for bigger assets like boats, extra vehicles, and home improvements, so you can request your rightful share.

  1. Obtain a copy of your credit report

Check your credit report to confirm that all the accounts listed are ones that you recognize, and monitor it during the divorce process. If your spouse is charging presents for his or her new girlfriend or boyfriend on your joint credit cards, he or she is dissipating marital assets and you can be compensated with a bigger settlement.

  1. Open new accounts in your name only

Go to a bank that’s different from the one where your marital accounts are held, and open a checking and savings account in your name. Apply for a new credit card too, if you don’t already have one in your name only. Good credit will make it easier to access the resources you need to establish yourself independently.

  1. Update your estate plan

If you have a will, advance directive, and other estate planning documents, remove your spouse from as many of them as possible. In Texas, the divorce needs to be finalized before your spouse can be completely disinherited: while you can opt to give your separate assets and your share of the community property to someone else, if you are still legally married, he or she is entitled to a life estate in the homestead and an allowance equal to one year of living expenses, plus other benefits.

  1. Hire a divorce attorney

An experienced Texas divorce attorney will help you negotiate a fair divorce settlement that gives you what you need to progress to this new and exciting phase of your life. If your spouse is concealing or dissipating marital assets, your attorney will fight for you by taking steps to reclaim this property or see that you receive an award of equivalent value.

Divorce will seem overwhelming in the beginning but these five steps will make you feel more in control and keep you in the right frame of mind to make reasoned decisions. If you have questions or are seeking representation for your upcoming divorce, let the team at Alexandra Geczi PLLC | Family Law help. We will ensure that your interests are protected and that you face the future with a sound financial plan.

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Written by Alexandra Geczi

Alexandra Geczi

Alexandra Geczi is an attorney, mediator, and founding member of the firm, Alexandra Geczi PLLC | Family Law. Alexandra is also Owner/CEO of Chief Domestic Officer Solutions, an entity dedicated to enhancing the busy lives of stay at home spouses.