If you are considering a divorce in the new year, you are not alone. In fact, in the first three months of the new year, divorce filings steadily increase. Divorce takes time. There are many facets to a well thought out divorce. Consequently, if divorce may be in your future, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Here are some proactive steps you can take while considering your options.
Understand Your Big Picture
Proper divorce planning includes understanding household needs and wants. Whether you are a married couple, have kids in common, or are a blended family, take the time to review your spending habits. Your spending habits provide insight into your expenses. Include groceries, club memberships, lessons, and extra curriculars for the kids, as well as any other expenditures for the family.
Gather credit card statements and other bills you pay regularly to get a good handle on your debts. Both assets and debts will be addressed in the divorce proceedings, and few things are as costly as an overlooked debt during a divorce.
Make a list of your assets. Assets may include items such as your house, cars, vacation homes, stocks, bonds, and other investments. However, assets may also include items which are often overlooked such as jewelry,art, coin collections, and antique furniture to name a few. Finally, don’t forget to include retirement accounts.
Calculate your income. You will need personal tax returns. If you or your spouse owns a business, you will need the business tax returns. Gather W-2s and 1099s, recent pay stubs, and copies of work related bonuses, including stock options, dividends, etc. If you or your spouse receives tips as part of the job, this should also be documented.
Gather essential documents. If you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement, or a post nuptial agreement, this must be located. Your attorney will want to review it – and any modifications made to the original agreement – for legality and to determine the mandates of the agreement. If either of you have a prior divorce that mandates child support, spousal maintenance, or both, these should also be gathered for your attorney’s review.
When couples divorce, assets are divided, debts are allocated, spousal maintenance, and child support may be considered, where appropriate. Understanding your big picture is critical to understanding whether divorce is right for you. With all the necessary documents and information, your situation becomes more clear to you and your attorney.
If you are considering divorce in this new year, you probably have questions. Contact the reputable law firm of Zachary D. Smith, LLC. Licensed in both Ohio and Kentucky, Zachary D. Smith has extensive experience in family law. His practice includes mediation, collaborative divorce, and, when necessary, litigation. For further information or to schedule a consultation with leading family law attorney in Cincinnati, please contact the office of Zachary D. Smith, LLC at (513) 275-1164 today or visit www.ZDSLaw.com.