There is no way around it, divorce is complicated. Whether you have a house in Middlesex County along with three kids and a dog or it's just you and your spouse renting an apartment in Freehold, divorce is not an easy process to get through. The people who tend to have the most trouble and come out of their divorces in tough positions are those who do not properly prepare.
Divorce is never as easy as simply calling a divorce attorney and then signing the paperwork. You will have to make a seemingly endless string of decisions, from who gets custody of the kids to who gets to keep the living room furniture. However, before you even make that call to a lawyer, there are some things you should do to prepare for divorce.
Watch the money
If your husband has been taking care of the finances throughout your marriage, it's time to start paying closer attention to what is going on. Take the time to become familiar with the assets that the two of you have acquired, both together and separately, since your marriage. You can do this by looking over past tax returns to get a list of income-producing assets such as investments that yield interest or dividend income, rental properties and business interests.
Open your own accounts
If you are like most married couples, you and your husband most likely have joint banking and credit card accounts. Once you begin the divorce process, your spouse might take the initiative to start closing accounts and cut off your access to funds. By having a credit card in your name alone and your own bank account, you won't be left penniless until the court grants you your share of the marital assets.
In addition, opening your own credit card will allow you to begin building a financial identity separate from your spouse's. This will come in handy in the future when you need a good credit history to apply for a car loan or home loan.
Start keeping a journal about what is going on in your family. For example, document which one of you is taking the kids to school, picking them up, attending school functions like parent-teacher conferences and after-school activities. This will be important when the time comes to negotiate custody and visitation. Also, document other occurrences that could impact divorce proceedings.
If you are considering divorce, it is important to start preparing as soon as possible. By taking the time to plan ahead, you stand a better chance of coming out of your marriage in a good position to start your new life.