Divorce can be a complicated process for anyone. You must make some difficult decisions in a short period of time. If you have children, the process can prove even more stressful as you must resolve the issue of who gets child custody. To best prepare for a divorce and ensure your rights and interests are protected, we have compiled a divorce checklist to make the entire process easier on you.
Contact an attorney
Before you make any major decisions, you should consult with an experienced attorney. You want to make sure you comply with state laws and make smart decisions as you navigate your divorce. The best way to know your rights under Florida state law is to speak with an attorney who can help you with this process.
Speak with a therapist
While amicable divorces are an option, all divorces are fraught with emotion. Even the most amicable divorce can leave an individual feeling angry, upset, and confused. Before you try to negotiate anything with your spouse, it would be in your best benefit to speak to a therapist about what you are going through. You would not want to make an emotional decision that you might regret in the future.
Forward your mail
If your spouse does not know that you are meeting with an attorney to discuss divorce options, you will want to forward your mail to someone you trust or open a P.O. box.
Obtain the necessary legal documents
You will need to compile the following legal documents as you prepare for divorce and make a copy of them:
- Marriage certificate
- Will(s) executed during the marriage
- Existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
- Trust documents
- Credit card statements
- List of assets and debts
- Personal financial statements
- Proof of income
- Any other financial documents that the court should know about
Update your will
You will want to amend you will before you get divorced in the event you get injured or die before the divorce is finalized.
Make a list of all your bills
You will want to write up a list of all the monthly bills that you and your spouse pay, confirm the current balance, account numbers, and access information.
Appraise the value of your marital home
You will want to make copies of your mortgage statements for the past 6 months to 1 year. You should take photographs of each room in your house, making sure you are capturing all the items of value. Next, you should list all the assets, obtain an appraisal, make copies of your leasing agreement, homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policy, and a list of your real estate tax bill.
Ensure the children are accounted for
To prepare for the divorce, you should obtain school, daycare, and extracurricular activity information, including a schedule. If there are any changes to an emergency contact or address, you should alert the school or organization. You should also request copies of daycare expenses and expenses for special education or private school costs.
Make a list of all the debts you owe
You are still required to pay debts while preparing for a divorce, so you should continue to make these payments. You will want to create a list of all the debt you and your spouse owe, obtain a copy of your most recent credit report, and call joint creditors to determine how to best protect your finances during this time.
Create a new email account
If you and your spouse share an email account, it is time for your own.
Contact our firm online or call us at (407) 753-4111 to learn more about our divorce services.