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7 Steps Before You Ask For A Divorce

A tense married couple sitting side-by-side on a couch in a therapist’s

Divorce can be an emotionally, financially, and legally complex life-changing situation. Before you ask for a divorce, there are several important steps to take to make sure the process is as smooth and fair as possible. Learn what not to do when seeking a divorce and how to silently prepare for this life-altering decision. If you would like to learn more about how to handle a divorce, consider scheduling an appointment with an experienced family law and divorce attorney at Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC, by calling (603) 707-4800.

What Steps To Take Before Asking for a Divorce?

Make sure you take a few actions that can help in the process before making this choice. Starting the legal process right away may not always be a good idea. Instead, consider whether it might be possible to reach a better outcome for both parties with a few manageable actions. 

Evaluate the State of the Relationship

Not every disagreement has to lead to a divorce. There are instances in which a couple can find ways to save their marriage through counseling. Engaging in couples therapy can help to bring about an understanding, in both partners, of the problems at hand. A competent therapist may be able to guide both partners in unraveling the underlying issues within their relationship.

A trained therapist may also be able to offer guidance in resolving conflicts and boosting communication between struggling, but well-intentioned, partners. If all efforts fail and the relationship becomes irreparable, then divorce might be considered as the next course of action.

Consult With a Divorce Lawyer

Although it can help to clarify some issues, contacting an attorney does not indicate that the relationship has ended. Sometimes, a divorce lawyer can improve your relationship, at least according to the American Bar Association.

Understanding your options, rights, obligations, and possible consequences can be aided by legal counsel. A spouse can learn about the potential financial and custody ramifications of the divorce during a consultation. Many people find it easier to move forward in these procedures if they know what to anticipate. 

Gathering Financial Documents

Before you ask for a divorce, make sure to collect all shared and personal financial documents, such as:

  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • Investment account records
  • Property records and deeds

Collecting these documents early on can prevent any surprises or disputes later.

Open Individual Accounts

During this time, set up personal credit cards and bank accounts to protect your finances and future. These accounts can prevent a spouse from interfering with your money. Along with that, an individual account will make sure that you have access to credit or cash if any joint credit cards or bank accounts become inaccessible during the proceedings. 

List Your Assets and Liabilities

Whether a divorce is contested, or the spouses are able to reach an agreement through alternative means such as mediation, listing and establishing a strategy for dividing all shared assets will likely be a part of the proceedings. In the event that you attempt to reach an agreement on property distribution that you and your spouse can present to the court when you petition for divorce, creating an inventory can help to establish what property belongs to whom in the division process. These assets should include:

  • Vehicles
  • Real estate
  • Investments
  • Personal belongings

Seek Support

Talk to trusted friends and family. Close friends or family members may be able to offer advice and help you through a period that for many people is deeply unsettling. A support network can often help to provide an emotional release. Friends and family, when supportive, can in many cases add a comforting connection during trying times.

Consider Mental Health Assistance

Individual therapy often helps with handling the emotional strain many people experience during a divorce. Counseling provides divorcing spouses with a secure space to express their emotions and develop coping techniques. Since divorce is a process often accompanied by multiple lifestyle changes, individual therapy can be a resource for addressing the emotional aspects of this process.

What Should a Woman Do Before Divorce?

Unfortunately, women who are married to men may need to take a few extra steps before going through with a divorce, compared with their male peers. If the marriage is reaching the end, it may be time to reach out to an attorney. Many women are caretakers of a couple’s shared children, and in childcare arrangements women’s unpaid labor in the home has in many cases sidelined their more remunerative career options, limiting their work histories. When either partner has put their career on hold to support the couple’s other shared concerns, that spouse may be entitled to financial support as part of the distribution of property in divorce. This is not a gender-specific principle, but for a variety of cultural and economic reasons, women do find themselves in this position more often than men. 

All women need to understand their rights. A plan can assist with custody issues, financial support, and spousal assistance. If you would like to learn more about the divorce process, please reach out to Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC. 

What Not To Do When Asking for a Divorce?

While there are plenty of points to consider and steps to take before a divorce, there are also a few things not to do during this process. Avoiding these common missteps can help to prevent unnecessary difficulties and provide the best chances of a smooth transition for your family.

Avoid Confrontation

Complications can arise from heated arguments. Disagreements have the potential to increase hostilities in the divorce process. Spouses should aim to behave with civility and respect, even and perhaps especially in cases where their relationship has soured.

Refrain From Rushed Decisions

While going through a divorce, never make rash financial decisions or big expenditures that could compromise your future financial security. Practice frugality. Hasty actions can have long-term financial repercussions that may not be in your best interest. 

Never Use Children as Pawns

Children should not be placed in the middle of parental disputes, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Using them as pawns or involving them in conflicts can cause lasting emotional harm. Divorcing partners who are also parents should prioritize their children’s well-being and work toward an amicable parenting arrangement.

How Do You Silently Prepare for Divorce?

Sometimes, you may unfortunately need to keep your intentions a secret from the other spouse. Here are a few tips to proceed with this decision:

Store Documents in a Private Location

Social security cards, birth certificates, and passports should be placed in a discreet location. You may choose a secure location in your home, at your attorney’s office if you are working with legal representation, or in a trusted friend’s house. These documents may be required during the divorce proceedings. 

Change Online Passwords

Spouses preparing for a divorce may wish to consider changing the passwords to their online accounts to maintain privacy. In the digital age, securing your online presence is important. Creating updated login information helps protect your personal information and prevent unauthorized access.

Plan for Child Custody

Child custody is often one of the most sensitive parts of divorce. Planning for child custody involves considering the children’s well-being, schedules, and the ability of each parent to provide a stable environment.

Build a Financial Safety Net

Divorcing spouses may wish to consider saving money in a separate account to ensure they have financial resources to rely on during the divorce process. These funds can help with legal fees, living expenses, and unexpected costs that may arise.

Reach Out to a New Hampshire Divorce Attorney

Preparation is key to a successful divorce. Before you ask for a divorce, consider taking these steps to ensure you are prepared to navigate the challenging divorce journey. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC, by calling (603) 707-4800 today.

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About the Attorney
Jesse Friedman

Jesse has personally represented thousands of clients throughout the State - from juvenile delinquency offenses through homicides. He has extensive trial and litigation experience and has obtained favorable outcomes for thousands of clients throughout the years.

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