Don’t forget these critical steps leading up to your divorce

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Whenever a couple files for divorce, there are plenty of things to handle on the legal side. The divorcee neds to deal with property and asset division; possible alimony; and the enforcement of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements (if they are present).

But in addition to the legal and procedural aspects to a divorce, any divorcee needs to perform a number of personal tasks as well to ensure that the divorce is a successful one. Many people are not aware of these crucial steps in the divorce process; they may skip them entirely, culminating in disastrous results. So here are a few things to remember when you file for divorce:

  • Do a little housecleaning… but not necessarily literally: You want to find some important documents that pertain to your personal, financial and legal holdings. For example, past tax filings are important to have during a divorce, as are records of credit card bills and bank accounts. You’ll also want hypersensitive documents, such as paperwork that pertains to wills or estates.
  • If you have kids, address child custody and support issues as soon as possible: How much will you pay, or receive, in child support? How will you and your soon-to-be-ex split payments for college tuition? Whose health insurance plan will your child be placed under? You’ll want to know where you and your spouse stand on these things, and subsequently handle them in an appropriate manner. Reaching an agreement before going to court can be greatly beneficial.
  • Prepare for the claims you want to make: Consult an attorney so that you can build the best possible case for earning retirement benefits, valuable assets and other things involved in your divorce that you really want.

Source: Huffington Post, “We’re Getting A Divorce, Now What?,” Linda Descano, July 29, 2013

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