I Think I Want to Get Divorced. What Should I Do Now?

February 17, 2014  |  Elizabeth A. Schading

Deciding that you want a divorce can be confusing, upsetting, and stressful. It helps to understand exactly what your next steps should be.
First and foremost, you should contact an experienced divorce attorney like the family law experts at Barna, Guzy & Steffen. You need a legal guide through this process.


Do I Really Need a Lawyer?

The advent of “do-it-yourself” divorces has misled many people into thinking that divorce is a simple process. But it’s very easy to make mistakes when you try to handle a divorce on your own. Issues of child support, spousal support, child custody, assets, and debts are far more complex than they appear to be on the surface.
Even a simple turn of phrase can affect your future. And it’s easy to make serious mistakes during the divorce process that have a serious impact on the court’s judgments. You need someone on your side, someone who knows what to do.
Next, you should decide what you want the major outcomes of the divorce to be. Are you hoping the kids remain with you? Do you want to keep the marital home? You may not get everything that you want, but knowing what you want and being able to articulate it can help you and your lawyer guide your case to the best possible conclusion.

Dividing Assets

Part of this process involves evaluating your finances. You need a firm understanding of your situation! Gather information about your assets and debts. Get an appraisal and legal description for your home.
Once you’ve evaluated your marital assets and debts you need to run your credit report, establish a budget for life after divorce, and open up a new checking and savings account in your own name. If you are taking money out of a joint account to fund the new account make sure you ask your lawyer about the appropriate withdrawal amounts later. You don’t want to weaken your case later by giving the appearance that you are attempting to maliciously impoverish your spouse now.

Exercise Caution

You’ll want to make sure that you are moderating your behavior throughout the divorce process. Now is not the time to cut loose, start partying, or take expensive vacations. You definitely don’t want a new boyfriend or girlfriend staying the night while the children are present. Any of these things can be used against you, especially in matters of child custody or spousal support. Besides, your children need you right now—this is as stressful and frightening for them as it is for you, if not more.
Stop using social media. This is not the time to put your personal thoughts and activities out there for everyone to see.
If you’re ready to divorce your spouse then it’s Barna, Guzy & Steffen. We’ve been serving the Twin Cities metro area for more than 75 years, and we’re ready to guide you through this difficult legal matter to its most successful conclusion. Call us today for your consultation.