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Four Things to Do Before You Divorce

If you’re considering a divorce, you may find yourself at a crossroads. Taking the path that keeps you in your marriage may seem fraught with difficulty, but taking the path that leads to dissolving your marriage may mean launching yourself into the unknown.  

Before you decide which path to take, prepare yourself for the journey by taking these four steps suggested by your Westchester divorce attorney. Whether you ultimately decide to file for divorce or to stick together, these four steps will improve your financial and legal health, protect your children, and help you face the future with confidence.

Talk to a counselor.

Whether or not you think there is any hope for your marriage, talk to a counselor or other therapist. If you want to try to patch things up with your spouse, consider going to couples’ or marriage counseling together or separately. If your spouse refuses to go to such counseling with you, go alone. You may find a way to stay together, or you may learn what went wrong, how to cope emotionally, and how to move forward. If you have young children, you can also learn how to help them through a divorce or separation period.

Find a qualified counselor by going online or asking a friend, co-worker, or religious leader whom you trust. Most experienced divorce attorneys can also provide a list of recommendations.

Talk to an attorney. 

A Westchester divorce attorney can not only help you navigate a divorce, but also decide whether or not a divorce is in your best interests. Your attorney can help you understand your state’s laws on divorce, custody, and support, protect your legal rights, and understand alternate options for navigating a divorce settlement, such as mediation.

Knowing your legal rights and options before you decide whether or not to file for divorce ensures that you do not make a costly mistake.  It also helps you understand all your options, which may change which step you choose to take next or give you the confidence to move forward with a separation or divorce. 

Always talk to an attorney before moving out of the marital home, unless your spouse is violent.  Moving out can affect your legal rights in several ways.  Ensure you fully understand what will happen before you make the move. 

Understand your financial situation.

Whether or not you decide to divorce, understanding your financial situation can only protect you in the future.  Find out where all your family’s key assets are stored and how much they are worth.  Tally up the family debt, its sources, and its interest rates.  Keep track of the household bills for a month or more, so that you have a reasonably good idea of where the money goes and why.

The more financial information you can provide for yourself, the better prepared you are when a major financial change – including but not limited to divorce – occurs in your family’s lives.  This information is also vitally important for your attorney, as he or she will need it in order to fully protect your rights during a divorce, custody, or support negotiation.

Protect yourself financially.

If you are giving serious thought to filing for divorce or moving out of the marital home, first protect yourself financially. Create a separate bank account in your name only, and begin saving money in this account so that you can support yourself and pay the bills once you move out. Know whose names appear on each one of your family’s assets and debts.  

Then, speak to a Westchester divorce attorney about protecting yourself financially in other ways. Your attorney may be able to help you file the necessary paperwork to prevent the sale of certain assets until a divorce is complete, or protect your financial health in other ways. Protecting yourself financially does more than just protect you – it also helps you care for your children during and after a divorce.  Take the steps you need to ensure that a divorce does not adversely affect your quality of life, and contact Lynch Schwab Attorneys, PLLC, today. 

Posted on September 25, 2013 in For Our Clients, Divorce Attorneys