- Marriage therapy
- Personal therapy
- Religious counseling
If the end of your marriage seems inevitable, it is essential to take the following steps before petitioning for a divorce.
Put Together a Team
The longer your marriage and the more you own, the more complicated your marriage’s dissolution becomes. There is much to know, and you can’t know what you don’t know. Your first step should be putting together a team you can rely upon for legal, financial, and emotional support. Start by asking a trusted relative or friend for suggestions. You will want to work with people who have no ties or obligations to your spouse.
Inventory Your Assets
At some point, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will need to divide joint assets accumulated during your marriage. You must consider everything from houses to investment accounts. It can be easy to forget about or overlook assets that you don’t think about every day. Start creating an ongoing list of things you own jointly and separately from your spouse because all of it will be up for grabs.
Once you’ve identified all your assets, start gathering paperwork and documents relevant to a divorce proceeding. These include the following:
- Prenuptial agreement
- Previous divorce certificate
- Income tax returns
- Bank statements
- Business partnership agreement
Establish or Protect Credit
If all accounts, including billing and credit, are in your spouse’s name, it can be challenging for you to establish credit when a divorce occurs. Or, your spouse’s ongoing actions may be hurting your credit. Either way, you need to know where you stand. Review your credit report and start taking steps to ensure that your credit doesn’t suffer new or further damage. You might consider closing joint accounts and paying some balances.
Consider Your Children
As stressful as a divorce may be for spouses, it is more so for children. You will need to break the news to your children, and how you do it will depend on their age. You might consider working with a therapist if you don’t know how to start. Next, you must think about custody arrangements and how to make them as seamless as possible for your children, your spouse, and yourself.
Regardless of the length of your marriage, divorce comes with all kinds of emotional and practical challenges. Taking time to think through each step will serve your best interests.