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Considering a Divorce in 2018?

on Dec 31, 2017 in Divorce

If you are considering a divorce in 2018, you are not alone.  Statistics show divorce filings tend to drop off towards the end of the year.  Divorce filings increase in January and February, with March typically the highest month for divorce filings.  Many people choose not to divorce during the holiday season.  Some are just waiting out the days, while others decide to hang on a little longer to see if they can find a way to make the marriage work.

 

Regardless of your motives for waiting, if you are considering divorce in 2018, there are certain steps you can take now in preparation.  Gathering documents now, and collecting pertinent information, will save you time when you meet with a family law attorney to discuss your situation.  It also provides your attorney with a clear understanding of your particular situation.

 

Divorce in 2018: Documents to Gather

 

Prenuptial and Post nuptial agreements

 

As a starting point, there are documents you can gather and put in a safe place.  If you have a prenuptial agreement or a post nuptial agreement, your family law attorney will need this.  Also gather any amendments made to these agreements.  These documents provide a clear road map to most of the issues that present in divorce cases.  Typically, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are legally binding.  However, there are some exceptions, which your family law attorney will explore with you.

 

Orders for Protection

 

If you or your spouse has filed for an order for protection or a restraining order of some kind, bring copies of those papers – even if the judge did  not sign the order.  If the judge did sign the order, bring both the temporary order and the permanent order.  Additionally, if there was a criminal case associated the events that led to the order for protection, any documentation you have about the criminal case is helpful, as well.  This could include a criminal complaint, police reports, witness statements, etc.

 

Divorce or Separation Documents

 

If you or your spouse previously filed for divorce or legal separation, gather these documents – even if the case was not pursued or was dropped at the request of the parties.  Additionally, if either of you have previously been divorced, collect copies of these documents as well.

 

Financial Records

 

Courts rely on financial records for several reasons.  These include determining alimony, child support, and division of property.  Consequently, financial documents are an essentail part of marriage dissolution.  As a starting point, gather the following documents:

  • Personal tax returns;
  • Tax returns for your business, your spouse’s business, or your joint business;
  • W-2s;
  • 1099 forms;
  • Recent paystubs;
  • Records of bonuses, tips, stock options, and other income;
  • Bank statements, including checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, etc.;
  • Statements pertaining to retirement accounts, including 401K, 403 (b), deferred compensation; pension accounts, IRAs, SEP IRAs, Roth IRAs, Health Savings Accounts, etc.

Divorce in 2018: Lists to Create

 

Create a list of assets, both those you share and those belonging to each of you.  Assets include homes, cars, vacation homes, stocks bonds, other investments, jewelry, art, and other things of value.

 

If you had assets prior to the marriage, list these separate.  Similarly, if your spouse had assets prior to the marriage, these should be noted as such.  Not all property brought to the marriage remains non-marital property.  However, the legal analysis required determining whether an asset is marital or non-marital is best left to the lawyers.

 

Create a list of debts – both those you share and those belonging to each of you.  Include your mortgage, money owed on cars, credit card debts, student loans, loans from family members or friends, and any other financial obligations both of you have.

 

Create a list of expenses.  Don’t forget every day expenses, such as day care expenses, transportation to and from work, and household bills.  These are expenses above and beyond your debts.  Groceries, routine medications, specialized doctor’s care, counseling, and other expenses.  Take some time to review your bank statements to track expenses.  Courts expect documentation of expenses claimed.  This is something you can start gathering now.

 

Create a list of your questions.  You may have friends that have divorced.  You may have read things or seen things on television.  Most people come into divorce consultations with preconceived ideas.  Happily, most of these preconceived notions are false.  Just because someone you know had a certain divorce experience doesn’t mean you will have the same experience.  Your situation is unique.  Bring us your questions, so we can ally your concerns and address your fears.

Divorce in 2018: Check Your Credit

Many people who married young are surprised to learn, too late, they don’t have their own credit history, or they don’t have sufficient credit history to function as they did when married.  Take the time to check your credit. If you do not have a credit history, or if you do not have sufficient credit history, consider ways to enhance your credit.  Without adequate credit, you will have difficulty renting an apartment, obtaining a loan, and other basic actions you may now take for granted.

Considering Divorce?

If you are considering divorce, understanding what the process entails provides peace of mind.  At Fait& DiLima, we offer consultations, so we can explore your facts and circumstances.  Divorce is highly personal, and each divorce should be tailored to the specific needs of the parties.  You didn’t have a cookie cutter marriage.  You shouldn’t get a cookie cutter divorce.  Our attorneys have more than 50 years combined experience in handling divorce and family law matters.  Let our experience work for you.  Contact us to discuss your case.