What you need to do before you file for divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2023 | Divorce |

If you’ve heard anyone describe their marital breakup, easy is more than likely not a term they used. No matter how you spin it, divorce in Illinois is never a simple process. Making the choice to separate from your spouse can be very emotional, and, on top of these sharp emotions, you will have to make decisions that could affect your life for years to come.

The actual process of getting divorced can get very complicated and often confusing. Navigating the divorce process while dealing with the stress of everything that is happening in your life can be overwhelming to say the least. However, if you know exactly what may lie ahead for you, it will be easier to get through the divorce process and transition into your new life. Here are some important things you need to consider immediately before filing for a divorce.

Organize assets and debts

A primary goal of most divorces is to distribute marital property, assets and debts. To ensure that you get your fair share during negotiations, you will need to get an understanding of your finances. First, determine the property and assets you own, such as financial accounts or vehicles. Then, find out any debts you owe. A good way to find out marital debt is by obtaining a copy of your credit report.

Gather proof of income

Before you file for divorce, you will need to show your income as well as your spouse’s income. If you both are salaried employees, copies of your recent pay stubs and income tax returns should suffice. If you’re self-employed, determining income can be a bit more difficult. In this case, get copies of your financial business statements and bank account statements, which should give a clear picture of income.

Close joint credit accounts

If possible, pay off and close all joint credit accounts before you separate. Closing joint credit accounts before divorce proceedings will prevent the use of credit accounts and save you from being responsible for charges that you may not have made. If paying off credit accounts is not an option, you should have the accounts frozen.

Take the high road

Before and during your divorce proceedings, it is a good idea to be mindful of your behavior. Any actions construed as inappropriate behavior may be used against you later in court, especially if child custody is a part of your separation. Sometimes, spouses can settle their divorce without litigation, but in some cases, the courts may need to be involved. Fortunately, professional help is readily available for anyone headed for a divorce who needs legal guidance.