The most frequently asked question that I receive from people contemplating divorce is "what should I be doing to get ready for my divorce?" Generally speaking, this is probably the most important question they could ask. Although my answer varies somewhat based on the individual situation, there are some general principles that apply to almost every situation. This is why I felt the need to include this topic as a blog post.
Step 1: Find An Experienced Divorce Lawyer to Consult
I know, I know, this sounds like a commercial. I'm not saying that you have to come to me, I would certainly appreciate the opportunity to help you, but what I am saying is find someone. Don't be afraid to ask potential lawyers about their experience. You can certainly find forms online to fill out and do your own divorce. However, if you do eventually plan to go that route, I still recommend speaking to an experienced divorce lawyer at first so that you can find out if there are any issues that need to be handled by a professional.
Step 2: Get a Clear Picture of Family Finances
This is extremely important while you still have access to records. Make sure that you know exactly what you own (both you and your spouse), how much debt there is, and how much income comes from each spouse. Additionally, be sure to make copies of any and all important records and account numbers. Pay close attention to any assets or debts that the other spouse is likely to attempt to hide from you at a later date.
Step 3: Don't Accumulate New Debt
Now is not the time to purchase a new house or car. The worst thing that you can do with respect to property is to acquire new debt against property that has no equity. Many divorces drag on much longer than they should simply because the couple has debt that they cannot pay and assets that would not cover that debt if sold.