Is a Divorce in Your Future? Steps to Take to Plan Ahead

Divorce filings are lowest in the final months of the year.  In January, divorce filings increase significantly.  The increase continues in February.  March is the month with the highest number of divorce filings each year.  Filings tend to drop off from April through July, with another spike in August, before dropping off to the end of the year.  As January approaches, the possibility of divorce is on the minds of more people.  If you are considering a divorce, or if you suspect your spouse in planning a divorce, there are some steps you should take to protect yourself and your financial future.

Gather Relevant Documents

Your first step in divorce planning is gathering the relevant documents.  These are documents you will need when litigating or negotiating divorce issues.  Gathering them now will save you time and money later.  These relevant documents include the following:

  • The last three years of income tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Income statements, such as payroll stubs or direct deposit receipts
  • Deferred compensation statements
  • Retirement account statements
  • Proof of stocks and bonds owned
  • Other investment account statements
  • Student loan documents
  • Documentation of other loans, including mortgage loans, car loans, and any personal loans outstanding
  • Credit card statements
  • A list of assets and debts, both joint and individual
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

These documents will give your divorce attorney guidance in issues such as the division of assets and debts, child support obligations, and potential alimony payments.

Start Tracking Household Expenses

In order to get a more complete understanding of the situation, it is a good idea to start tracking household expenses if you aren’t doing so already.  This includes regular bills, such as the water bill, garbage bill, electricity, etc.  It also includes debt obligations, including loans and credit card debt.  Additionally, track both the grocery bill and your expenses related to going out to eat.  Don’t forget transportation to and from work.  Child care expenses should be documented.  While most families do not face regular medical bills, a list of yearly medical expenses, including health insurance, should be created.    Any other expense the family regularly or irregularly incurs should also be included on the list.

As with gathering relevant documents, tracking expenses will give your attorney a clearer understanding of the family’s finances.  This can inform decisions about child support, alimony, and the division of debts and assets.

Planning for Divorce

If you are planning a divorce, or if you suspect a divorce is in your future, there are some steps you can take to prepare and protect yourself.  One of those steps is to speak with a qualified family law attorney.  Eric C. Cheshire, P.A., offers a full range of family law services, including divorce representation.  A consultation is not a declaration of certainty.  Instead, scheduling and attending a consultation with a divorce attorney can provide insight and guidance in terms of what to expect and what further steps may be necessary, all tailored to your specific needs.  Call today to schedule a consultation at (561) 677-8090.

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