Four Tips for Getting Organized Before a Divorce

Divorce can be incredibly challenging. For most people, the end of a marriage is one of the most emotionally turbulent experiences they have ever had to go through.

Unfortunately, this swell of emotions can lead people to make bad decisions, especially when it comes to complex topics like property division and spousal support.

Most Phoenix divorce attorneys advise their clients to approach the financial aspects of a divorce from a logical, instead of an emotional, standpoint. This is often easier said than done. But, individuals can help themselves prepare for a successful divorce by getting properly organized early in the process.

Experts recommend that individuals take the following steps at the outset of a divorce:

  • Gather all your documents: Make copies of all relevant financial documents including bank statements, brokerage statements, credit card bills, mortgage paperwork, tax returns and the like. Make sure to include year-end statements, as these are often the most important. Then, store them somewhere safe.
  • Prepare a "lifestyle analysis": Together with your divorce attorney and financial planner, work to reconstruct your living expenses and spending habits during the marriage. This will prove especially useful if alimony is at issue in the divorce.
  • Open new financial accounts: You will need checking, savings and credit card accounts that are in your own name and cannot be accessed by your spouse. If you did not work outside of the home during the marriage, it may be much easier to open these accounts before the divorce is finalized.
  • Establish lines of communication: Since you will be talking about sensitive issues with your divorce team, it's important to protect your privacy. Consider opening a post office box to receive divorce-related mail. You may also want to get a new cellphone number and a new email address. Also, make sure to reset the passwords on your existing devices and accounts.

These steps can help you gain control over your life following a divorce. In addition, they will help your divorce team to work more efficiently on your case.

Although the divorce process may only last a few months, the results will stick with you for the rest of your life. Getting organized can help you ensure that you experience the best possible outcome.

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