When you divorce, there are a lot of things to think about. Here's a quick guide to help you understand most of the topics you will have to agree on and some suggestions to reach agreements. This list is not exhaustive and it does not fit every situation.
Gather Your Documents
The first step of any divorce is gathering all of your important documents such as bank statements, tax returns, insurance policies, investment accounts, etc., so that everything is accounted for before negotiations start. Gather as much information about your finances as possible before meeting with an attorney so that they have a complete picture of what assets need to be divided during the divorce proceedings. You might also want to check your credit report.
Make a List of Priorities
Before you start negotiating the details of your divorce, make sure that both parties have their priorities in order. What do each of you want out of the divorce? Who gets what assets and what stuff? How will child support be handled? Having a clear list of priorities makes it easier to negotiate when emotions are running high or disagreements arise.
Create a List of Negotiables
Divorce isn’t just about splitting up assets; there may also be items such as pets or cars that both parties want to keep or divide between them. Create a list of items that both parties want but can’t agree on how to split them up – these can then become negotiating points for reaching an agreement without going to court.
Take Time Away From Negotiations
Negotiations can become heated and emotional quickly, so taking breaks away from the table can help prevent arguments from escalating out of control. Taking a break allows both parties to reset and come back refreshed with new perspectives on how best to work together towards an agreement everyone can live with.
Reach Out For Help
Divorce doesn’t have to be done alone – there are plenty of resources available depending on your individual situation. Reaching out for additional help, specifically mental health treatment, can provide clarity on difficult topics or even simply provide an unbiased third party perspective when negotiating becomes too tense between spouses. It is not going to be "used against you" in the final outcome.
Research Lawyers and Hire the One Who Fits your Goals Best
If you are considering divorce, you should have an attorney by your side. Research attorneys in your area who take divorce cases. Make sure that the attorney is someone you feel comfortable talking to and asking questions of. This person will represent your interests throughout the entire divorce process, so it’s important to choose someone who understands your needs and values - and they might not have an award for being the best attorney. If you want to read more about finding an attorney, read here, but understand, an attorney cannot just give advice without knowing more.
Create A Budget For Yourself
Divorce has many financial implications that may affect daily life after the settlement has been reached; therefore it is important to create a budget ahead of time so that both parties understand what their post-divorce expenses will look like and plan accordingly. Making a budget will help make it easier to stick to set financial obligations after the settlement is completed. Consider opening your own separate bank account and have your paycheck put in there.
Take the Mandatory Parenting Communication Course (if you have Children)
If you have children, you need to take the Parenting Communication Course offered by Children First. You can call them at 618-235-6192 or you can take it online. Your soon-to-be-ex will also take it.
Research and Discuss Parenting in Two Homes (if you have children)
When it comes to deciding on parenting time arrangements for your family during a divorce proceeding there are several things that you should consider including any current schedules that work well for your family currently; any special needs your children may have; any special circumstances of either parent such as travel or work schedule; any location changes due to school or relocation; and any religious commitments either parent has. You should also take into consideration your own communication style between one another so that if co-parenting is necessary in the future it can be successful for all parties involved. Remember that when discussing your children, you should always keep in mind what is best for your children first and foremost.
Child support is an important factor when navigating a divorce with children as it covers fundamental costs associated with raising a child such as food & clothing. Child support payments are determined by the state via guidelines which take into account income levels of both parents as well as other factors such as health insurance premiums and daycare costs related to raising the child(ren). The goal of these guidelines is to ensure that each parent contributes financially towards their respective responsibilities in raising their child(ren) after a divorce has been finalized. You can calculate it for yourself to get an idea.
Remember working together in agreement will make this easier and a lot less expensive. For additional ideas, you can check here too.