At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we’re aware of the mental exhaustion and draining emotions tied to divorce. But like most things, stress and common hurdles to finalization can be cleared with proper planning–saving you time, money, and emotional pain in the long run.
To brace yourself for what’s ahead, turn to our five-step divorce preparation checklist for Orange County couples. And to kick off the divorce process, consult a settlement-minded Orange County divorce attorney.
5-Step Divorce Preparation Checklist for Orange County
Consider these five steps divorce preparation checklist:
- Turn to your support systems
- Gather your financial and family documents
- Draft a custody plan and inform your children
- Decide on a residence
- Update your will and trust documents
Now, let’s dive a little bit deeper into each step.
Turn to Your Support Systems
Oftentimes, our closest friends and family members are already aware of our struggles and want to help. Be it a financial crisis, parenting troubles, or marital issues, we turn to our tribes for emotional support through harsh times. This is especially important when going through a divorce. You could also reach out to a therapist or counselor for guidance on how to cope with the stress you may face during and after divorce.
Gather Your Financial & Family Documents
Financial arrangements tend to be one of the most contentious areas of divorce for obvious reasons. So, it would serve you well to organize financial and family documents as soon as possible whether or not your attorney requires them. Make copies of your original documents, save them in a dedicated folder, and store away photocopies of each. Here are a few examples of the types of documents to gather:
- Bank and credit card statements
- Mortgage and loan documents
- Tax returns from the year prior
- Health and life insurance forms
- Social security statements
- W-2 copies and income statements
- Investment account statements
Draft a Custody Plan & Inform Your Children
No matter the driving cause of your impending divorce, your children are still the top priority. Between all the custody conflicts and financial disagreements, it’s crucial to ensure that your children’s well-being isn’t at stake. To do this, you and your spouse could work through custody decisions together with a shared parenting plan. These plans can include details of your child’s living arrangements and visitation provisions, among other things.
Additionally, rather than leaving them in the dark, discuss the impending divorce with your children. Just don’t mention any divorce plans until it’s confirmed. If you and your spouse are amicable, try discussing the best way to bring the decision up to the kids. Most importantly, let them know that it’s a mutual decision and that while your marriage will change, your role as a parent won’t.
Decide on a Residence
Do you plan on remaining in your marital home or moving somewhere else? Once this decision has been made, be sure to inform your divorce attorney – especially if you plan on moving out. If you’re moving away, put time aside to look for a new place and gather information on market rates.
Update Your Wills & Trusts
Lastly, your will or trust will need updates immediately following your divorce. More specifically, you’ll want to remove your spouse as a beneficiary of your estate if you don’t plan to leave any assets to them. Oftentimes, divorcees will modify their will or trust to transfer their spouse’s share to their children. In this way, ensuring that these updates are made will give you peace of mind knowing that your children will be taken care of in case you’re not around.
Follow this divorce preparation checklist to make sure your divorce doesn’t see any delays and that your children are prepared for the changes ahead. For help with the beginning stages of divorce, contact an Orange County divorce attorney and request a consultation.
Prepare for Your Next Chapter with Jennifer Owens, Esq.
At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction so that they can finally move on to their next chapter. No matter your desired path–mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will help you achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services, or contact us online for a free consultation.