Filing for Divorce in the New Year? 5 Steps You Should Take

Filing for Divorce in the New Year? 5 Steps You Should Take…

More people file for divorce in January than any other month of the year. It’s even been dubbedFiling for Divorce in the New Year 5 Steps You Should Take “Divorce Month”. If you’re one of those people who’s ready to start the new year fresh by ending your marriage, here’s a handy to-do list to help get you started off on the right foot. Filing for divorce in the New Year? 5 steps you should take…

  1. Gather financial information

    One of the first things you will fill out is a Financial Affidavit, so it’s important to gather up as much financial information as you can ahead of time so you’re prepared. Make copies of taxes and other important financial documents, check joint bank accounts and make a list of any assets/debts you have (both individual and joint). Coming prepared to your attorney’s office with all of this information will help jumpstart the divorce process.

  2. Determine if you’ll use an attorney or mediator

    You have several options when you file for divorce, including hiring an attorney or mediator. Some even choose a do-it-yourself divorce. Which path you go down depends on the specific needs of your situation, such as how high-conflict your divorce is and whether or not there are any minor children involved. Many attorneys and mediators offer a free or low-cost consultation, so don’t hesitate to interview several before deciding on one.

  3. Find some support

    Support from friends and family is great, but a divorce is one of the most stressful things you can go through in life, so support beyond that is also needed. A therapist, divorce coach, even a divorce support group can make a huge difference in the healing process. If you have children, getting them support is also a good idea.

  4. Decide what your post-divorce life will look like

    Divorce will change things, no matter how badly you might want them to stay the same. Going from two incomes to one can have a huge impact on your finances, and you may no longer be able to afford the marital home, the car you drive, or the lifestyle you lived before you filed. Sitting down and preparing a budget with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) can help you determine exactly what you can afford and get you started on the right path post-divorce.

  5. Make a (short) list of your non-negotiables

    If you really want to, you can drag your divorce on for years- but it’ll cost you. Entering your divorce with a huge list of demands and being unwilling to compromise on anything will drive your attorney’s bill through the roof. To keep your divorce more affordable, and to get it over as quickly as possible (because moving on and healing is the ultimate goal!), make a very short list of non-negotiables. This list should be two or three things that you are willing to fight for- anything from more parenting time to your grandmother’s fine china. Everything else, be willing to compromise on so that you can finalize your divorce sooner.

Even if you have been thinking about getting a divorce for a while, actually acting on it can feel overwhelming. Getting organized and being as prepared as possible before you file can get your divorce- and the new year- off to a better start.

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Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis line: 1-800-356-5395
Crisis text line: Text “help” to 741741
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

Split.fyi Resources
Split.fyi Marital Life Inventory
Divorce Lifecycle Document
Divorce Process Overview

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