Divorce is a difficult and emotional process that presents multiple challenges for all involved. But staying organized throughout the process can help divorcing spouses avoid making emotional decisions that can lead to conflict now and in the future.
As Minnesota divorce attorneys, we have seen that more organized spouses often fare better in the divorce settlement. An important moment for organization is your first meeting with your divorce attorney. By sharing all facts, figures and documents right away, your attorney will have more time to develop a plan to get what you need. This allows your attorney to quickly and accurately prepare the necessary documents and maximize your settlement.
Organization can also help cut costs. If all necessary documents and information are already organized, you will not have to pay your attorney to collect this information for you. You will also recognize what documents you need if you are familiar with your active credit cards and open bank accounts.
Important steps for getting organized include:
- Collecting financial documents (bank statements, credit cards, mortgages, tax returns)
- Having a lifestyle analysis prepared
- Monitoring spending
- Opening new bank and credit card accounts in your name
- Establishing ways to communicate privately (especially if you still live with your spouse)
In addition, analyzing your financial situation can help establish the standard of living in the marriage. It provides an estimate of day-to-day expenses and the spending habits of both spouses. While some courts will require this to help calculate alimony or maintenance, it is a good idea for all people going through a divorce to help prepare for life apart.
A divorce lawyer can help you stay organized and prepared for the unique challenges of your divorce.
Source: Forbes, "Why Women Who Are Organized Often Do Better in Divorce," Jeff Landers, Mar. 27, 2012.