You know that your marriage hasn’t worked in a long time, but nothing has happened yet. You’ve finally reached the point where you know you need to file for divorce and move on with your life.
If you hope to keep things low-cost and amicable, an uncontested divorce filing might be the best approach. That means talking with your spouse before you file and negotiating your own terms for custody and property division.
If you are eager to start the process, you might plan to have this difficult conversation in the near future. Before you sit your spouse down for a talk, there are few steps that you should take to protect yourself.
Check your credit
Divorce can be hard on your finances and your credit score. You need to know that you are in the best position possible what do you initiate proceedings. Checking your credit score now to see what you might qualify for on your own after divorce is a good move. You are in a position to take a few months if necessary to rebuild your credit before you make any major changes.
Get copies of income and tax documents
If you ask for an amicable divorce, hopefully your spouse will cooperate. Sadly, some people will try to take advantage of their spouse or mislead the courts so that they don’t have to fully share what they should. You can protect yourself from this kind of unethical behavior by getting crucial financial records now. Having digital or physical copies will give you an opportunity to search for hidden assets and make sure that you know what property you have a claim to in the divorce.
Create an inventory of your spouse’s valuable physical property
Bank accounts, retirement funds and real estate holdings are not the only property that will contribute to the value of your marital estate. You also need to look at physical assets, ranging from antiques and furniture to vehicles and jewelry. For some of the more valuable items, it may be worthwhile for you to invest in professional appraisals to determine the real worth of those assets.
Practice your approach so that your discussion doesn’t become a fight
Even if it has been a long time coming, finding out that your spouse intends to file can be a devastating shock. By being careful with how you phrase things and focusing on how smooth and simple the process can be if you work together, you can hopefully minimize the negative emotional reaction that your spouse experiences.
Planning ahead will protect you in case things don’t go well and also set you on a path for success if your spouse does agree that an uncontested filing would be the best approach.