• calendar19th Sep 22 2:33 pm
  • userJamie

7 Steps To Take Before You File For Divorce

Many marriages do not end amicably. Spouses all too commonly find themselves disagreeing regarding the terms of their divorce and struggling to reach a settlement. For this reason, it is essential to take specific steps to protect yourself prior to filing for divorce. If you are planning a divorce and would like help with these seven steps to take before you file for divorce, consider contacting an experienced divorce attorney at the Colorado Divorce Law Group by calling (720) 571-7572 to schedule a consultation.

Interview Potential Divorce Attorneys

One of the first steps to take before filing for divorce is to interview potential divorce attorneys. Finding an attorney who may be able to help get the divorce finalized as quickly as possible can be helpful, but also ensure that the lawyer is a good fit. Some of the most important questions to ask potential divorce attorneys include:

  • How much could I be awarded (or required to pay) in alimony or child support (as defined by the Colorado Judicial Branch)?
  • How should I tell my spouse that I want a divorce?
  • Are there specific parenting time or custody guidelines under the law?
  • What type of divorce will work best given the details of my case?

Get Your Finances in Order

One of the most important aspects of any divorce is the division of marital assets, properties, and debts. Getting your finances in order will be essential before you file for divorce. Start by taking an inventory of all marital assets. Any items that may not be considered marital property, including inheritances or specific items brought into the marriage, will not be eligible for distribution upon divorce. However, assets that are typically counted include:

  • Motor vehicles
  • Real estate property
  • The family home
  • Pension accounts
  • Retirement savings accounts
  • Financial accounts
  • Valuable artwork or collectibles

Improve Your Credit Score

Opening individual lines of credit can be a good way to ensure access to emergency funds, a vehicle, and a new home if needed. For this reason, prior to filing for divorce, it may be beneficial to work on improving your credit score.

Take Care of Joint Accounts

To improve your credit standing, you will want to gather your proof of income and pay off or close joint credit accounts or negotiate with creditors for settlement agreements. Certain accounts may need to be frozen during the divorce process. Alert creditors of the impending divorce and update mailing addresses and other contact information. Even after you file for divorce, continue to make payments on all accounts on time to help ensure your financial success.

Decide Whether To Stay in the Marital Home or Move

Before filing for divorce, it is important to decide whether to stay in the marital home or move. Generally, most spouses will wait until the divorce has been finalized to move out of the marital home. This is, in part, because of the significant impact on either spouse’s financial interests in the property.

However, in some cases, it is necessary for one spouse to move out, particularly if the divorce becomes too contentious. When one spouse needs to move out of the marital home prior to filing for divorce, it will be important to document how mortgage payments are made and by which spouse during that time. Leaving the marital property with minor children could have a negative impact on a spouse’s ability to remain in the home after the divorce is final. To avoid this, divorce attorneys at the Colorado Divorce Law Group might file a motion to ensure that one spouse is awarded temporary possession of the marital home.

Develop a Safety Plan If There Is Domestic Violence

Make sure that you protect your own safety, and that of your children. Your safety is paramount to everything else. One of the most dangerous times for domestic abuse victims is when they attempt to leave a spouse. With help from a divorce attorney or local domestic abuse shelter, you can formulate a safety plan and get a temporary order of protection to protect yourself and your children. Be sure to discuss concerns of domestic abuse with your divorce lawyer, as he or she may be able to help get the abuser removed from the marital home.

Set Your Child Custody and Parenting Plan Goals

When a couple has children together, setting up parenting plans and child custody agreements will be one of the most important elements of the divorce process. Unless one parent is considered a danger to the child, both spouses will usually be encouraged to share joint custody. When creating this plan, review both parents’ work obligations and the child’s extracurricular activities and events to determine what child custody or parenting plan might be the best fit. Child custody and visitation is one of the areas that can become the most contentious. Both parents should be prepared to encourage their children to enjoy quality time with the other parent to avoid further problems during or after the divorce. However, parents who have reason to believe that the other parent is a risk to the children may need to take action to protect the children.

Some of the factors taken into consideration when determining child custody and parenting plans, according to the Colorado General Assembly, include:

  • The income and expenses of both parents
  • The living arrangements of both parents
  • The age of the children
  • The physical and emotional health of both parents
  • How close each parent was with the children prior to the divorce
  • The child’s current extracurricular activities and schooling
  • What the child wants

Begin Separating Your Life from Your Spouse’s

Making the decision to end a marriage is never easy. Before you file for divorce, it is important to take steps to separate your life from that of your spouse. Some of the most important steps to take before you file for divorce include:

  • Setting up a post office box
  • Opening a separate checking and savings account
  • Opening a separate line of credit
  • Securing personal information like passwords, emails, PIN numbers, and more
  • Making changes to estate plans, including revoking living trusts, updating wills, and assigning new beneficiaries
  • Taking an inventory of personal and marital assets and debts
  • Saving money wherever possible

Do Your Best To Remain Amicable with Your Spouse

Although every divorce has the potential to have many points of contention, it is important to do everything possible to maintain your composure and remain amicable as you move through the divorce process. Former spouses commonly attend their children’s school events, weddings, graduations, and other important life events post-divorce, so taking steps to remain amicable can help to ensure that your family can thrive after this important life change.

Contact a Colorado Divorce Lawyer To Learn More Today

Spouses who are ready to go through with a divorce but want to ensure that they know the necessary precautions prior to filing may find the legal guidance and support they need from a knowledgeable Colorado divorce lawyer. If you have questions about the steps to take before you file for divorce, consider contacting a dedicated divorce attorney at Colorado Divorce Law Group by calling (720) 593-6442 to schedule an initial consultation today.