Because divorce can have long term consequences, particularly for women, it’s best to prepare by utilizing a divorce checklist. A divorce checklist for women helps women prepare for divorce by offering basic divorce tips.
If you are considering a divorce, your first step is to evaluate your finances. Unfortunately, many women have little or no knowledge of the household finances which can be a huge disadvantage in a divorce. So, it’s best collect as much financial information as possible including:
- Real estate deeds;
- Vehicle titles;
- Bank statements;
- Investment account statements;
- Credit card statements;
- Pay stubs; and
- Any other records evidencing your income, assets and liabilities.
Having this information will allow you to make informed decisions relating to the division of property and the division of debts.
Be Prepared to Compromise
In most states, if your divorce is contested, you will be required to attend mediation. The purpose of mediation is to give you and your spouse an opportunity to resolve the issues (with the assistance of a mediator) in your divorce rather than to have those issues decided by a judge or a jury. So, regardless of how bitter or angry you may feel, you should enter mediation with an eye toward compromising. However, if you and your spouse simply cannot agree, that’s okay. You will appear in court and the judge or jury will decide your case.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, the courts will work to protect you. If you believe you are in immediate danger or if your husband threatens you, contact the police immediately. You should also petition the court for a protective order.
Child Support and Visitation
If you have children, regardless of whether you divorce is contested or uncontested, most states require the parties to attend a parenting class before the divorce can be finalized. The purpose of these classes is to prepare the parties to co-parent after the divorce becomes final.
Additionally, unless there are special circumstances which warrant otherwise, the non-custodial parent will be ordered to pay child support. Each state has established child support guidelines which govern how child support is calculated. The non-custodial parent will be awarded visitation with the children unless the court deems that allowing visitation would not be in the best interests of the children.
Spousal Support and Alimony
State law governs the award of spousal support and alimony. Courts consider a variety of factors in determining whether to award spousal support and alimony including:
- The length of the marriage;
- The earning capacity of each spouse;
- The cause of the divorce; and
- Whether one spouse contributed to the education and earning capacity of the other spouse.
If you are awarded spousal support or alimony, it may be temporary depending on the facts of your case. If the award is temporary, it’s imperative that you obtain proper education and training so that you can care for yourself once the support ends.
Getting Legal Help
Whether your divorce will be contested or uncontested, it’s best to hire a qualified divorce attorney. A divorce attorney will work zealously to help you get the best possible outcome under the circumstances.