Choosing to get a divorce is an emotional and life-changing decision. Since the divorce, even an uncontested divorce, can be complex, it is important to consider getting these four items in order before making the final decision to move forward.
- Figure out your property situation. Do you own residential or investment property with your spouse? Are there beach homes or timeshares that are in both of your names? Property can also extend to furniture, jewelry, luxury items as well as cars. Depending on the state that you live in, the ownership of the property may vary based on common law property or community property state laws. It is key to remember that dividing property once a divorce is completed may not always be simple. In some instances, a spouse may claim reimbursement if the invest non-martial funds into a property that subsequently increases in value. Before meeting with an experienced family law attorney, make a list of all marital property, when it was purchased, how much is still owed (if applicable) and its current estimated value.
- Calculate child support and spousal support. If you have minor children, it is essential to determine the total cost associated with their education, child care, recreational activities, medical expenses, etc. You may not be completely aware of how much each month is needed to maintain your children’s current living conditions. Figuring out how much each child costs can help you better negotiate a feasible child support amount, during a divorce. If your children are over the age of 18, but are in college and dependent on assistance with student loans or money for school, take this amount into account as well. The laws around spousal support will vary from state to state, but it is important to consider your career goals and what getting a divorce may mean for your own financial well being. If you have been a stay-at-home parent throughout the divorce, then spousal support may be needed to ensure you are able to provide for your household in a similar capacity to which you did when in the marriage. Determining what you may need, financially, after the divorce can help you to better prepare yourself for the separation.
- Determine child custody arrangements and/or pet care. With young children figuring out a co-parenting plan is essential. You may seek full physical custody where the child resides primarily with you. Or, you may be okay with a joint custody arrangement. For an uncontested divorce, it is key to openly speak with your spouse to determine what is the best arrangement for your children to maintain as much of their pre-divorce life as possible. If pets are involved, consider who will take over ownership of the pets and how pet expenses will be handled once the separation is complete.
- Figure out your living arrangements. Are you moving out of the family home? Will you stay and your ex-spouse leave? Will the family home be sold and the proceeds split? When you get a divorce, it may be easier emotionally to move out of the home. However, if children are involved, this may complicate the decision. Think ahead and start to consider where you will live during and after the divorce. It may be wise to start saving immediately to be able to afford a new place should you decide to move out of the family home.
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of all of the items you should consider, but this is a good list to get you started. When you schedule a consultation with a reputable uncontested divorce attorney, they will likely ask you many of these same items. Being prepared and emotionally ready to tackle some of these difficult topics can help you transition from married to single. To schedule a comprehensive divorce consultation, contact the trusted family law attorneys at Wilson Brown Law, LLC at 210-787-4637.