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9 Divorce Planning Tips

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Divorce. The mere mention of the term triggers a rollercoaster of negative factors, including a drain on finances and a seemingly unending toll on the emotions. The presence of children can make child custody battles exactly that—an important but exhausting fight.

Prepare for an impending divorce so you’re well-equipped with the armaments of combat. Divorce proceedings differ markedly, however, with some divorces being amiable, while others teeter on the brink of war. The type of divorce you will be involved in can determine how smoothly the process will go.

But overall, here’s how to prepare for divorce so there are no dreadful surprises along the way:

  1. Prepare financially
  2. Expect a lengthy process
  3. Seek emotional support
  4. Inventory property
  5. Close joint accounts
  6. Choose your divorce team
  7. Prepare for custody battles
  8. Find a good attorney

1. Prepare Financially

Spouses can expect to spend thousands of dollars on divorce. On average $15,500 covers the cost of attorney’s fees. At the lower end, spouses can get divorced for $1,000. Partners have even been known to spend $100,000 to legally split from their spouses.

The more elements that are involved in the divorce, the higher the cost of the divorce will be. Examples that drive divorce expenses upward include child custody, child support, spousal support or alimony, property division, and reimbursement claims.

Adequately plan to finance your divorce by setting aside a hefty portion of your earnings. Estimate your monthly budget. Cut unnecessary expenses. Ensure you have enough monetary assets to maintain your standard of living through a possibly lengthy divorce.

2. Expect a Lengthy Process

Aside from eating away at your expenses, a divorce might draw out for months. The estimated time it takes for a divorce to be completed starts with filing the petition and ends with settling or receiving a court judgment. Battling spouses can fight out a divorce over the course of 11 months on average. When several issues are involved, a divorce is likely to be resolved in 17.6 months. Couples who settled took about nine months to finalize the divorce. Whether your divorce is messy or straightforward, plan to spend time managing your part during the legal process.

3. Seek Emotional Support

A divorce can speed through several emotions, from anger and guilt to frustration and relief. Prepare for this emotional journey by seeking support from friends, a divorce support group or therapists.

Remember that during a divorce, intense emotions can lead to poor decision making. A circle of positive support can help you maintain a level head and help you approach divorce negotiations with calmness. Find a reliable network to support you through this life-changing event.

4. Inventory Property

Marital property can be identified as personal belongings, heirlooms, real estate, income, tools, jewelry and financial assets. During a divorce, marital property will be divided. Prepare for the division of property by documenting your belongings with digital photos. Photographic evidence of your personal property should be dated to prove ownership.

Keep all evidence of your belongings in a safe place away from your spouse. Examples of places to store evidence of marital property can be at work, a safe deposit box, with friends or family, and electronically. You’ll protect your marital property in the event your spouse attempts to claim that the items are not lawfully yours.

5. Close Joint Accounts

While married, spouses commonly share bank accounts. Open an individual financial account and close any joint accounts as soon as you make the decision to file for divorce. Electronic account statements sent to a new email address will offer you added security and protection from your spouse.

6. Choose Your Divorce Team

Carefully select reliable people to take you through the stressful duration of a divorce. A divorce team might consist of a mediator, judge, financial planner, mental health professional to assess child custody situations, and a dependable divorce lawyer.

Navigating a divorce successfully requires the help of others. Trust your team of intelligent and experienced people, who are on your side to help you achieve the best outcome.

7. Prepare for Custody Battles

When you expect custody disputes, prepare well in advance. Show the court how involved you are in your children’s lives. Note who takes the children to appointments and extracurricular activities. The children’s school can provide documentation for who attended parent-teacher conferences.

When relevant, drug evaluations and police reports can demonstrate why a spouse should not have custody of the children.

9. Find a Good Attorney

As a legal process, divorce requires the services of a lawyer. Divorce proceedings may even be accomplished with a mediator. Complicated divorces especially, however, require the expertise of a divorce attorney. Negotiations can be complex, and an experienced lawyer can help you navigate through the paperwork and processes.

Experts recommend interviewing at least three attorneys who are experienced in family law and the specific type of divorce you need before settling on one to represent you. A lawyer who is a good negotiator, who is knowledgeable about the changing laws and who communicates well is invaluable during the divorce proceedings. Plus, an ideal lawyer will educate you on the divorce process and creatively solve arising issues.

A trust or estate lawyer can offer recommendations for reputable divorce lawyers. Local attorneys also can be found via online websites that feature valuable client reviews.

Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd.

A local divorce attorney is essential to ensure the lawyer is experienced in the judicial system in your area. If you live in the Oak Lawn, IL community and are planning for a divorce, contact the area’s most trusted law firm, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd.

Our experienced divorce attorneys have successfully worked on cases revolving around spousal support, child support, domestic violence, division of property and numerous other aspects of divorce, like post-decree issues and visitation. The lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. are thoroughly knowledgeable in the various current laws to offer the best solutions possible for each unique case.

Once you are ready and prepared for divorce, you can count on the legal team at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. to thoroughly answer any questions you have about the legal process.

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