If you have decided to file for a divorce, it will be important to prepare in advance as much as possible. But don’t worry, this is not nearly as daunting as it sounds. While there are some steps you may want to take to make sure you are financially well-positioned for your divorce, in many respects, preparing is simply about taking the time to think about what you want out of the process.
This checklist will help you begin thinking about the issues that are likely to come up during your divorce:
1. Protecting Your Assets and Finances
Virtually all divorces involve the distribution of property, and high-earning spouses and parents will also need to address considerations related to alimony and child support:
- Make a list of your assets, and note which assets are likely to be classified as marital property.
- Identify any assets that you want to keep for personal or sentimental reasons (such as collections, family heirlooms, boats, or vehicles).
- Prioritize your remaining assets. Which assets are you prepared to fight for, and which ones are you willing to let go in your divorce?
- Make note of any debts associated with your assets (such as mortgages and car loans).
- Make note of any physical assets that you believe may require special valuation (such as collections, antiques, or artwork).
2. Protecting Your Relationship with Your Children
Whether you hope to secure primary custody or your goal is to secure visitation rights while maintaining a voice in important decisions affecting your children, as a parent, parenting time matters will play a central role in your divorce:
- Consider what is realistic in terms of your ability to spend time with your children after your divorce.
- Identify which of New Jersey’s “best interests” factors work most significantly in your favor.
- Identify which of the “best interests” factors are likely to present the greatest challenges for securing your desired parenting time rights.
- Put together a rough plan for how you would meet your children’s financial and emotional support needs if you were granted your desired parenting time rights.
3. Anticipating Your Spouse’s Goals
In addition to thinking critically about your priorities, it will be important to assess your spouse’s goals and priorities as well.
Start by making a list of the assets your spouse is likely to want to keep in your divorce.
- Put these assets in order of prioritization; and, to the extent that your priorities conflict with your spouse’s, think about ways in which you (and your spouse) may be willing to compromise.
- Consider whether your spouse will try to obtain alimony.
- Realistically assess whether you believe your spouse may attempt to conceal assets or take other improper action during your divorce (if so, there are proactive legal remedies available).
4. Achieving Your Desired Outcome
When it comes to resolving differences during the divorce process, there are a handful of options available. When determining the best method (or methods) for finalizing your divorce, some important considerations include:
- Are you willing to negotiate with your spouse in good faith?
- Will your spouse be willing to negotiate with you in good faith?
- Could you and your spouse benefit from engaging the services of a mediator?
- Will the issues involved in your divorce warrant use of the collaborative divorce process?
5. Special Considerations for Unique Circumstances
If any of the following apply to your situation, you will want to be sure to bring these up with your attorney:
- Do you own a business (or does your spouse own a business)?
- Do you or your spouse have substantial retirement assets?
- Did you and your spouse sign a prenuptial agreement or mid-marriage agreement?
- Have you or your spouse vacated the family home?
- Have communications broken down to the extent that you do not believe there is any realistic hope of an amicable resolution?
Speak with Hackensack, NJ Divorce Attorney Carrie S. Schultz
For more information about preparing for your divorce, and for legal advice custom-tailored to your personal circumstances, please contact us to schedule a confidential initial case evaluation. To speak with Hackensack, NJ divorce attorney Carrie S. Schultz, please call (201) 654-4263 or request an appointment online today.