Tips for Preparing for Different Family Law Cases:
What should I do to prepare for filing for a divorce? Should I be doing something to prepare myself before filing for divorce? How do I prepare our children for a separation? What happens if my spouse and I own property together? How do I find out how much money my self-employed spouse earns? I believe my spouse is preparing for divorce –what should I be doing? These are normal questions that many people ask about the pre-divorce and divorce process. This page is intended to answer these typical questions, but it is not intended to replace the advice of an attorney or Family Law expert. Since every case is different, it is important to remember that the issues that may arise in your particular case may differ from other cases.
Tips for Preparing for Every Divorce Case:
Gather and copy all financial documents as of the date of marriage and the date of separation. Consider obtaining a credit report to determine what accounts remain open or what entities to whom you or your husband or wife may owe money. Types of documents you should consider include but are not limited to statements concerning joint and individual:
- Real Property (i.e. house, condominium, land);
- Bank accounts such as checking and savings accounts;
- Relating to furniture, furnishings, and personal property;
- Relating to jewelry, art or other personal items;
- Investment accounts such as 401(k), IRA, Brokerage accounts, Retirement accounts, Thrift Savings Plans, 529 plans, pensions, stock option accounts and other deferred compensation, and other similar accounts;
- Credit card statements, personal lines of credit, or personal loans;
- Student loan statements; and
- Tax returns for the past two or three years, 1099’s, W-2’s and other tax related documents.
Obtaining these documents prior to your meeting with one of our divorce experts will help ensure you have a meaningful private consultation.
Tips for Preparing for a Divorce Involving When You Own Real Property like a House, Condo or Land:
Gather and make a copy of the title to your home. Title is the manner in which you own the property and is demonstrated by a grant deed, interspousal transfer deed, warranty deed, or other type of deed. Bring a copy of your current mortgage statement as well as the closing statement from when you purchased the property. If you have a second loan on the property such as a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or traditional loan, that information is also very important. Finally, bring any and all loan applications executed by either or both spouses.
Tips for Preparing for a Divorce Involving a Self-Employed Spouse:
Gather copies of pay stubs, bank statements, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, general ledgers, and any Quicken, Quickbooks or other computer accounting software files that detail the income and expenses related to the business. If the business owns land, buildings, or equipment gather title documents concerning the ownership of each asset by the spouse or company. Bring any copies of loan applications signed by the self-employed spouse as well as any documents relating to credit card statements and bank account statements concerning the business.
Tips for Preparing for any Case Involving Children:
If you have children and are going through a divorce, paternity action, modification, guardianship, adoption, or any case involving children be sure to gather and photocopy your children’s grades, Individual Education Plans (IEP), standardized test results, and other information specific to your children detailing their progress and education.
Keep a log or diary to note the dates and times the children spend in your care or the other parent’s care. Keep notes on your level of involvement with the children including attending parent-teacher conferences, extracurricular activities and other similar activities. This will come in handy in the event there is a dispute over who has cared more for the children.
Maintain records of your communications with the other parent. Try to use email rather than text message to communicate about important issues so as to keep a record of the substance of the conversations. Retain copies of your children’s and your cell phone records and home telephone records to document communications between the children and the other parent.
Tips for Dealing with the Emotional Effects of Divorce:
A parent as well as a child may experience emotional turmoil related to a divorce or breakup of a family. Our attorney’s highly recommend that every client engage the services of a therapist to address the emotional impact of a divorce or breakup of a relationship. Inevitably, our client’s who seek counseling end up successfully dealing with the emotional challenges they face in their matter.
The same goes for a child. Remember that in the absence of an order providing one parent with sole legal custody, each parent must consent to enroll a child with a therapist. In the event one parent objects to enrolling a child in counseling with a therapist, consult your attorney to discuss your options. Obviously, the need for therapy changes depending on the age of the child and the dynamics of any family. Address these specific issues with your child’s therapist upon engagement.