The decision to ask for a divorce shouldn’t be made without a lot of introspection and preparation. Even in the best of situations, a divorce can take a deep emotional toll. Then there are the potentially long-reaching financial consequences.
If you are certain you are ready to proceed with a divorce, here are a few things to consider before announcing your decision to your spouse.
Take a Realistic Look at Your Situation
When divorce proceedings begin, it’s best to know what to expect. Much of that depends on your current situation.
For example, are you more likely to stay in the home while your divorce is in the process, or will you be the one who leaves? Is your spouse going to feel blindsided, or will they be expecting this? Do you have your own accounts and source of income? Do you have friends and family that can act as a support system? Are you the primary care provider for your children?
Get a Good Picture of Your Household Finances
Before you ask for a divorce, it’s imperative that you have a clear picture of your household finances. This includes the following:
- Your spouse’s income.
- The amount owed on your mortgage and your monthly payment.
- Your monthly utility payments.
- The value of your home and other assets.
- The amount of money in savings and checking accounts.
- The value of your and your spouse’s 401K and other retirement or investment accounts.
- The amount owed on credit cards car loans and personal loans.
- Student loan debt.
- Any pending lawsuits or accounts that are in collections.
Having this information, and the answers to the questions listed above is important preparation for your next step.
Consult With an Attorney
Even if you are certain your divorce will be amicable, it’s still in your best interest to speak with a lawyer first. If your divorce is likely to be contentious, it’s an absolute must.
Your divorce attorney will provide you with advice about the divorce process in Colorado and your specific situation. For example, should you move out or stay in the home? Should you pull money out of shared bank accounts and open your own?
They may even be able to point you towards other resources to help you during the early phases of your divorce proceedings.
Choose The Best Method to Inform Your Spouse
Every situation is different. The best choice in your situation may be to simply have an honest conversation with your spouse about your decision to file for divorce.
However, you do have other options. If you think your spouse will have difficulty coping with your decision emotionally, you might consider having the discussion in the presence of a marriage counselor.
If you are fearful in any way, remember that you are not obligated to have a face to face discussion with your spouse. A Brighton Family Law firm can file papers on your behalf, and arrangements can be made to have your spouse served with papers. Our specialists may also be able to arrange for temporary financial support and help you to stay in the marital home.
By carefully preparing your approach to asking for a divorce, you will help protect yourself and your rights. In addition to this, you will be in a position to help your attorney achieve the best possible outcome for you.