Tips for Getting Organized at the Beginning of a Divorce

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Divorces are almost always stressful. That doesn't mean there's nothing that couples can do to simplify the process, though. Here are some tips for getting organized at the beginning of divorce that can help.

Organizing Income Documents

Financial matters can be a serious point of contention when getting a divorce, but they should never be ignored. You can protect yourself financially by acquiring a few documents prior to your initial consultations. These documents should include paycheck stubs from the last year, documentation of business expenses, copies of tax returns for the past three years, copies of bank statements for the past two years, and any other information recommended by your attorney that could be used to establish net worth.

Organizing Documents Pertaining to Assets

When couples own real estate jointly it can be even more difficult to determine how assets should be divided. Spouses who are getting organized before a divorce should make a point of collecting documentation of all real estate that is either jointly owned or separately owned, including mortgage statements, copies of deeds, and tax assessor's statements. It's also a good idea to get documentation related to shared automobiles, boats, or other expensive assets together in advance, including those that demonstrate outstanding debt.

Organizing Documents Relating to Debt

First, you should create itemized lists of any debts in your own name or your spouse’s name. You should then list any outstanding secured debts such as loans, medical bills, and credit card debts. Write down contact information for each creditor as well.

Organizing Life Insurance and Pension Documents

Whether life insurance policies have been taken out independently or they have been offered through one or both spouse’s employers, copies of these documents should be collected prior to your initial consultations with a divorce lawyer in West Virginia. Make a point of including any statements that indicate cash balances or loans against life insurance policies, as well. Recent statements for pension funds and other types of retirement funds should also be collected prior to this meeting.

Sorting Out the Details

Gathering documents is only one important part of planning what to do during divorce. Other considerations such as where each partner will live must also be considered and a working budget must be determined based on current income. Spouses who have not been working should look into finding jobs, as they can't always count on ongoing financial support after the divorce has been finalized.

Making Plans for Children

Any divorce is bound to come with its fair share of stress, but divorces that involve children can be downright harrowing. It's important to come up with a plan regarding how to introduce the subject to kids in advance and to develop strategies for helping them cope. Think about practical concerns as well, such as which parent will have primary custody, where the children will be living, and whether they will have to change schools.

Write Down Questions

Writing down a list of questions and concerns can be just as helpful as collecting documents when it comes to preparing for an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer. There is no such thing as a stupid question when filing for divorce. Many spouses also seek out divorce counseling, which can help them mitigate the emotional aspects of their breakups


Skyler Barnhart