Divorce is stressful for the whole family. As a parent, there is a lot to process emotionally and a lot that will change financially. One way to reduce the unnecessary stress associated with a divorce is to be prepared.
Organize your financial documents, such as income tax returns, bank records, pay stubs, and credit card statements, as well as retirement and investment account statements. Make a list of your assets and debts. Start copying bills and receipts so you begin to understand your monthly expenses and how much of your income(s) pay for those expenses. Perhaps prepare a preliminary cash flow worksheet because, ultimately, you will be asked to provide this information on your case information statement during your divorce.
This preparedness helps everyone that works on your case to understand your needs. This also helps with planning your financial future. While living in two separate households, both spouses will likely feel a change in their spending habits. It is usually not possible to keep the same spending habits in two separate households.
When you have a greater understanding of your finances, consider whether you can keep your current residence or you need to move. Consider what type of parenting plan you desire and whether your school-age children can remain at the same schools and in the same districts. Think about whether you or anyone in your family has extraordinary medical expenses or extraordinary costs related to care.
Consult with an attorney to discuss your unique family situation and how you want to proceed with your divorce. You can choose collaborative divorce, mediation, or filing a legal complaint for divorce.