What to Do Before Telling Your Spouse You’re Filing for Divorce
Divorcing is never an easy decision to make. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding that one’s marriage is irretrievably broken. For example, how will bills and debts be handled? What will happen to the marital home? Will you lose time with your children? These are all matters that must be handled before the divorce is finalized. However, if you have decided a divorce is necessary, and you have not yet told your spouse you want to end your marriage, there are factors you must consider to protect your rights under Wisconsin law before you proceed.
First, do your research on attorneys in your area. It is wise to consult with divorce attorneys well before you file for divorce to ensure your interests are protected. Your attorney is available to offer guidance on property matters and child placement concerns both before and during the divorce. Look for attorneys who have experience in all types of family court matters, from child support to property division. These attorneys have the range of experience you need in your case. The sooner you hire an attorney, the better.
Next, you should make sure you have all documentation that covers your assets and debts. Print your bank statements and credit card bills. Keep copies of your retirement account records. Gather your tax returns and any documentation you have on the value of your home, as well as your vehicles. It will be much easier to value and divide assets with these documents in hand. Waiting to gather these documents when you are in the midst of divorce may be stressful—in addition, when one spouse moves out of the marital home, these items may be misplaced.
You should also think about your goals for the finalization of the divorce. Where do you want to live? How much time with your children do you want? What assets do you want? What are your opinions on spousal support and child support? If you have clear goals in mind, it makes things much easier for your attorney. With specific objectives, your attorney is able to create a tailored plan on your behalf.
Although you should not drain any joint bank accounts, it is wise to have a reasonable amount of funds set aside for yourself. You will need to pay your attorney and you will also need to pay your own living expenses. Consult with your attorney as to how you should ensure your financial interests are protected.
Make notes on the history of your marriage. In your notes, lay out your and your spouse’s work history, relationships with your children, any wrongdoing, and the status of your assets and debts. It is important to keep notes so that you may disclose pertinent information to your attorney. Making these notes before you are fully entangled in an emotional divorce is wise.
Hiring an attorney is the best step you may take before filing for divorce
At Bandle & Zaeske, LLP, we know divorce is difficult. Our Wisconsin divorce attorneys are compassionate, yet aggressive—we ensure your legal rights are protected before, during, and after a divorce. To schedule a free consultation with our legal team, call 414-359-1424 or contact us online.