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How to plan for a divorce

Filing for divorce is a significant decision which requires planning.  Planning for potential obstacles can ease the “crisis” feeling that some people experience after filing for divorce.  Some things to consider are:

  1. Is divorce the right option for you?  Divorces can be filed for a multitude of reasons – if a spouse is abusive or if you have been cut off from finances sometimes divorce is the only option.  However, the option of attempting a settlement and dissolution of marriage prior to any filing with the court is always something you should consider. A settlement can save you attorney fees and can prevent a lot of stress.
  2. Who is the primary bread winner? If you are not working, how will you get the initial funds to file for divorce? Is there a family member or friend who can help you? Sometimes the use of a credit card is necessary.  Most attorneys will require at least an up-front deposit even if your spouse is later ordered to pay your attorney fees. Also, there is a lapse between when any temporary orders are put in place which can crunch you for cash if you are not working.  This can be especially complicated if you rely on your spouse for finances – meaning, if you do not have control of the family finances you could be left without funds for 2 -4 weeks (or more) after the divorce is filed.  The point here is to be prepared (as much as possible). You may consider opening a separate checking account prior to filing where you put money for your use.
  3. You will need to determine if you and your spouse will be staying in the same household during the divorce.   If domestic violence is involved, this will not be an option.   If funds are limited, it may be difficult for one of you to leave the house right away. If you are facing living in the same household as your spouse while your marriage is ending, you may also consider whether a settlement is an option prior to starting litigation.  The idea of living in the same house as a spouse during a highly litigated divorce unless absolutely necessary does not sound appealing to me.

The bottom line is that you need to have a plan.  As with anything in life, including divorce, it is always better to be prepared.   If you have any additional questions, please contact Olivia K. Smith, Attorney at Law for a free consultation.

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