Wondering what you should do before filing for divorce? The confusion and frustration can be never-ending! Here is a list I have compiled with some important things to consider, before you file for divorce.
1. Go to a marriage counselor: I see many clients in my office that meet to file for a divorce and haven’t tried to seek marriage counseling to make it work. Now, many times, one of the parties in a marriage wants out and refuses to even consider counseling, and unfortunately, you can’t force someone into therapy. If you have children, you owe it to yourself, your spouse, and most importantly, your kids, to at least consider seeing a marriage counselor or family therapist.
2. Figure out what you own and what you owe: I am often shocked by how many clients come into my office having no clue about their assets and liabilities. In Virginia, a Judge can divide marital property and debt, regardless of many factors. One of the first things you need to do before even considering filing for divorce, is go through your accounts and figure out what you and your spouse owe and what you both own.
3. Determine exactly how much your spouse earns: Child and spousal support can both be issues in a Divorce. Support figures are calculated using both parties’ income information. It is usually easy to figure out your own income but be sure to determine exactly how much your spouse earns. A tax return is a great place to start.
4. Create an inventory of household items: Go through each room of your house, one by one, and make a note of what personal property items that you want. If you go into a divorce knowing exactly what you want to keep, you have a baseline for what property is important to you in the home.
5. Write your questions down: Divorce is a stressful – there is no denying that. Not only is it extremely emotional and heartbreaking, it is also uncharted territory filled with horror stories from friends and so many questions that this time can feel so overwhelming. My advice to you is to write down any questions that you have about a Divorce – the process, the financial issues, custody issues, anything – and bring these questions with you to your initial consultation. Also, be sure to check out our blog to read up on some tips about the initial consultation!
6. Don’t move out: Barring domestic violence situations, it is best to stay in the home until you at least consult with an attorney. If you move out (and it is not separating to get a divorce), you could be accused of “deserting the marriage,” to cause the divorce. If possible, stay put in the home until you speak with counsel.
This list of things to do before filing for divorce is not all-inclusive and every situation is unique. If you or your spouse are considering a divorce or you are planning on filing for divorce now, your best bet is to make an appointment to speak with someone as soon as possible. It is best to go into a situation with a clear head and a big part of that is understanding your rights in a divorce. Give us a call at 757-656-1000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to schedule your initial consultation, at which we will answer any of your legal questions. We are here to help.