Pre-Divorce Planning Checklist
Save, save and save money
Forget about legal fees; you will need a financial cushion for your living expenses. Obviously, this is a problem when your spouse may be the breadwinner. Plan this out; plan on having 2-4 months of living expenses prior to filing. This will give you that cushion so that your mortgage, rent, car payments, and martial debt gets paid. It is very very common for people to skip this first step and its the most common that I see every day. Once your case is file; we can file for temporary support orders from the breadwinner spouse forcing them to keep paying the family expenses during the course of the actual divorce process.
Open a Post Office Box
Go to your local post office and open a PO BOX, ASAP. By doing this it will protect you from your spouse gaining access to your mail. This will prevent your spouse from looking at your financial documents and will also give you a sense of security. Furthermore; make sure you do a “mail forwarding” with your local post office, so that all mail that comes out your house will be then sent to your PO BOX. This is practical, quality advice. This is important for those items from your lawyer; that requires a timely response.
Document, Document your financial documents and information.
Massachusetts law requires that all parties to a divorce are required to self disclose all financial information. This includes tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs.
Having these documents in hand providing such to your attorney at the outset is best practice. Tax returns, pay stubs, mortgage statements, car statements, retirement accounts, deeds are all examples of documents needed.
Find a good Parental Coach
A parenting coach will help you coordinate with your soon to be ex to make the transition from one household to a dual household. An expert in parenting can work with you and your spouse in setting up parenting times; work schedules; sports activities as well as child health care circumstances.
Get Your Credit Report
Getting divorced is difficult enough, but discovering your credit has been damaged in the process can definitely add insult to injury. Early on you should get a copy of your credit report that will help you determine your financial standing. It will also tell you if your spouse has done anything nefarious with your credit or if he/she has damaged a marital asset(such as missing mortgage payments) T/his will also help you and your attorney to properly identify what is marital debt and which is not and it allows you to properly disclose your debt to the court and your soon to be divorced spouse. I would consider closing all joint accounts like an authorized user account immediately and remove yourself from your soon to be divorced spouse. Review the report and make sure that your spouse's debt should not be. Once you get your credit report, make sure all of the information is correct and that none of your ex's information or accounts are showing up If there are inaccuracies you are free to dispute such.
Your financial situation may undergo substantial change once you file your case. Some people will find themselves in a better position post-divorce, but most will not. . Either way, a post-divorce budget is smart and is easy to accomplish. Don't panic if your spouse handled all the finances; we can help you get the budget under control.
Find a Good Divorce Attorney
The importance of quality legal counsel cannot be overestimated. Your divorce attorney should have courtroom experience and should be communicative with you and your spouse, or spouse's attorney. Make sure the person you hire regardless of the work needed is professional and well respected. At The Law Offices of Matthew T. Desrochers, P.C., our philosophy toward the divorce process has resulted in positive outcomes for many satisfied clients.
Filing for divorce is a very emotional process and the outcome can have a significant impact on your life and your future. While there are no guarantees and there are many decisions that need to be made, finding a lawyer like those at the Law Offices of Matthew T. Desrochers, P.C. who listens to what you want and advises you well can make all the difference in the outcome
Get a Support System
If you are facing divorce, we encourage all of our clients to get a solid support system in place asap. This will help with the emotional challenges that are going to be part of the emotional journey you are undertaking.
A lot of clients will seek individual counseling or a divorce support group. There are many online websites and Facebook groups related to marital dissolution. Talking with other people who have walked in your shoes can help you stay positive thru this difficult process. To learn more about pre-divorce planning, call us today 781-279-1822, or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
For your convenience, appointments may be scheduled during flexible hours. Our office is located in Reading, Massachusetts at the interchange of Route 93 and Route 128/95. We also of course offer zoom and facetime meetings and consultations. We serve clients in Middlesex and Essex County.