How can someone begin preparing for divorce?

If your spouse recently asked for divorce, his or her feelings may have come as a shock. You may not have anticipated the need for divorce and not imagined the divorce process in your future. It can certainly take some time to get used to that idea. However, it can also be beneficial to act early.

If you and your spouse are going to get a divorce, it may be helpful to begin preparing for that process sooner rather than later. If your spouse has been thinking about divorce for some time, it is possible he or she has already begun preparing for this process behind the scenes. If you wait too long to get yourself organized, you might find your access to certain documents and information has become limited, which could put you at a disadvantage.

Collect your own copy of important documents

Ideally, you and your spouse should each have your own copies of all your family’s important documents. Also, you may each want your own secure place to store your documents.

It can take time to collect all of the documents you need. This may be especially true if your family does not already have an effective organizational strategy for paperwork or if you are not familiar with your family’s organizational strategy.

Some documents you may want to look for, include:

  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Real estate deeds
  • Tax returns
  • Loan documents
  • Insurance policies
  • Estate planning documents

Plan how you will store your documents

Once you collect all the important documents from the past several years, try to group them in a way that is logical to you. You might consider putting all home ownership documents together, all credit card documents together, and so on. The way you organize doesn’t matter too much as long as it makes sense to you. The purpose of this organization is to help you find a document quickly, if you find out you need it.

Remember to store your copies in a safe place. This could be a file box with a lock. However, there are some situations when extra precautions may be necessary. If you feel someone in your home may tamper with your records, you may consider storing them at a safe location outside your home.

Getting yourself organized early can help you in a variety of ways. It could help save you money and help you achieve more favorable divorce outcomes. It may even be cathartic and help you begin to envision the post-divorce life you want to build for yourself. There are many tasks you can complete to help prepare you for divorce, but collecting and organizing important documents can be great way to start.

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