Filing for divorce is not an easy decision to make. There are many things to think about as you try to make the best choice for you and your children. As you think about filing for divorce we wanted to offer some things to consider before you make that final decision.
Vesting of a retirement account
All assets owned by you and your spouse individually and jointly go into the marital pot and are subject to division during a divorce. Do you or your spouse have a retirement account? Are you vested in the account? You may want to time the filing of your divorce to include or exclude a pension or retirement account. If you are not vested in a pension or retirement account yet, you may want to file sooner rather than later. Your spouse may have a pension or retirement account that has not vested yet. You may want to delay filing for divorce until vesting occurs on your spouse’s pension or retirement account. That way the value of the pension will be included in the marital estate.
Taking inventory of your possessions
Make yourself knowledgeable about your assets. Everything you and your spouse own goes into the marital pot and is subject to division during a divorce. You can’t divide what you don’t know you have. Make copies of your tax returns and take an inventory of your household goods. Go to websites that appraise vehicles and print off the values for your cars. Look around for financial and bank records, brokerage account statements, and retirement statements. Do you own any collectibles or have any appraisals for jewelry?
Educating yourself on your finances
Debts are also included in the marital pot when going through a divorce. Do you know what you owe? Get copies of your monthly bills. If your spouse pays all the bills, find them and make copies. Look at your bank statement to see where your money is going every month. Run a free credit report to see what shows up under your name. Educate yourself about your bills and your spouse’s bills, and make copies of everything you can.
Reviewing what is posted on your social media accounts
You are going through an emotional time. Your marriage is on the rocks, you are sad or angry, or just plain fed up with your spouse or your current situation. Do NOT post about it on social media. Your accounts can and will be used against you for all sorts of things after filing for divorce. Are there pictures of you out partying when you were supposed to be with your kids? Have you posted negative things about your spouse? Maybe you took a trip to an exotic location while you claimed you have no money? Think before you post, and at the least, update your privacy settings.
Finding a support system
Your lawyer is not your therapist. If you don’t have an emotional support system, find one. A trusted friend or mental health professional will be invaluable helping you and your children navigate the emotional turmoil surrounding divorce. Many insurance plans cover short-term outpatient mental health counseling. Schools also have social workers or guidance counselors to meet with your children. They can also provide referral services for programs designed for children whose parents are going through a divorce. Do not be afraid to ask for help for yourself or your kids.
Regardless of when you decide to file for divorce, we believe these are important things to consider before making a final decision. Should you decide filing or divorce is the decision you need to make let us know and we will walk you through the process every step of the way.