I Am Not Ready
When people contact Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law, they are not always wondering how to get a divorce, but wondering if they should. As there is no legal separation in Texas, it is important that couples contemplating divorce take steps to prepare themselves should they ultimately make that decision. In addition to marriage counseling, it is also important to undergo divorce planning. There are two main areas on which you should focus during this stage: financial and strategic.
Divorce Financial Planning
It is important to gather your comprehensive financial information together, and to make yourself aware of your financial situation both as a couple and as an individual. Doing so will likely save you fees in the long run and will make your proceedings go more smoothly should you divorce. Financial planning can include:
- Securing copies of the last two years of tax returns
- Becoming familiar with all existing financial accounts, including bank statements, credit cards, investments and retirement funds
- Making sure you are added or included as an authorized user on all relevant accounts
- Understanding where your assets are and how to access them
- Putting together a comprehensive assessment of the property you hold separately and jointly with your spouse
- Collecting copies of your and your spouse’s most recent pay stubs
- Checking your credit reports and becoming familiar with outstanding debts you and your spouse hold
If you feel you are not able to collect and interpret all of these items on your own, our firm can refer you to a financial adviser, or accountant, to aid you in these endeavors.
Strategic Divorce Planning
In addition to financial considerations, you may be worried about child custody, visitation and support. If you are not already, make sure you are actively involved in your children’s lives. This includes knowing their friends, teachers, hobbies and activities, doctors, and interests. You should take your child or children to school, get them ready for bed, help with homework, feed them and bathe them. To prepare for future custody hearings, collecting homework logs, attendance records, report cards and day care logs can aid you when it comes to temporary and permanent custody rights.
Consulting a divorce lawyer early on in the process can also give you insight as to when and if you should file first. Depending on whether you and your spouse will engage in a contested or uncontested divorce, your goals may be different and therefore your legal process should be handled differently. Discussing your options with an attorney will save you headaches in the long run.