Preparing for Your Divorce

By Alice Rickel, Attorney at Law

Ending your marriage, whether through a divorce or dissolution, can be an overwhelming experience. One of our goals at Alice Rickel, LLC is to keep clients focused on what is important such as the children, maintaining financial stability going forward, and planning a future based on a new financial reality. Remember to take each day at a time. You may consider implementing some of the following suggestions:

The Children:

  • Determine the best parenting and physical living arrangement that makes the most sense for your family. Look at the situation realistically to determine what parenting possession schedule is best for you and your children. You may consider contacting a mediator or a parenting coordinator to assist in designing a parenting plan. Keep in mind that these changes are affecting your children. For example, they will need to adjust to living in two separate houses or they may need to go to a new school. Try to implement a parenting plan that minimizes disruptions in your children’s daily lives.
  • Keep a journal. If you are involved in a custody dispute, consider keeping a written journal of what goes on between you, your children, and your former spouse. You may want to record how much time each parent spends with the children; what activities or tasks each parent does with the children; and who is responsible for routine doctor visits, teacher conferences, etc. Keep a log of your children’s responses to their changing environment so you can determine whether your parenting plan needs to be modified.

Your Financial Wellbeing:

  • Take inventory of your family finances. It is important to document your assets and debts in order to move forward in the divorce process. Organize all your financial records, including credit card bills, tax returns, bank account information, mortgage statements, wills, trusts, pension plans, and investment accounts. Make copies and find a secure place to keep them. These records will help you determine exactly what is marital property and what is marital debt. Consider maintaining an organized list of all your assets/debts and income/expenses for your records, and consider updating this on a monthly basis.
  • Keeping Track of Your Expenses. It is important to establish a realistic monthly budget. There are different ways to document your expenses, but consider these ideas. Save all of your receipts and the supporting documentation. It may also help to pay all of your expenses on a credit/debit card or by check. It will be much easier to track your monthly expenses if all of your purchases are itemized on a monthly statement rather than relying on your memory or countless receipts. Having a thorough understanding of your income and expenses will help you to determine what you can realistically afford in the future.
  • Consider your plans regarding your marital residence. Do you want to keep or sell the marital residence? Do you intend to remain in the marital residence? Does your former spouse want to keep it? Can either of you realistically afford to maintain it? How feasible is it for you to continue making payments on the house?       These are all issues that need to be discussed and resolved.
  • Credit. You may want to open a credit card in your own name in order to establish credit and keep track of your personal expenses. Consider getting a copy of your credit report to determine if there are any outstanding debts that you did not know about.

Other Important Considerations:

  • Do not neglect your emotional wellbeing. Make sure you are confident about your decision to get divorced. You may consider obtaining individual or relationship counseling. It is also important to maintain a support system to help you get through your divorce. Turn to family members or friends you can trust and rely on, and keep those people on standby for emotional support if you need it. Rather than announcing your divorce stories on Facebook or other social media, rely on your small support team.
  • Choose the process that is right for you. Know that there are different ways to terminate your marriage. If litigation is not the right option for you, consider using mediation or other alternative processes, which have less court involvement.
  • Talk to an attorney. Make sure the attorney you choose is a good fit. We encourage you to visit our website at www.rickelaw.com or call 216.831.1434.

 

This article is for informational and opinion purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice, retain a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction.

Alice Rickel Assoicates
Attorney at Law
www.rickelaw.com