As spring arrives, the divorce rate soars. According to data collected between 2001 and 2015, online searches for the terms “divorce” and “child custody” steadily rise in the first few months of each year, peaking in March. While there is no clear reason for this pattern, experts speculate that couples on the verge of separation put off filing for divorce until after the winter holidays and Valentine’s Day. If you and your spouse are considering a separation or divorce, it is important to consider several things. While collaborative divorce is a solid option for many separating partners, some couples may be so stressed and contentious that they may overlook some critical steps before seeking a divorce. Here are four critical steps you should consider before you file for divorce:
1. Consider Any Alternatives
First of all, think about why you are seeking a divorce. Do you need some time away or a temporary separation? Have you tried marital counseling? Are you still determined to make your marriage work? Sometimes, we may automatically jump to pursuing a divorce instead of taking more measured actions, especially when tensions and emotions are running high. So, be sure you search your heart, mind, and intuition for any alternatives before fully committing to filing for divorce.
2. Make an Inventory of Your Assets
Before you find yourself in the middle of a contentious divorce, you need to document your valuables. You do not want costly items such as artwork, antiques, furniture, or heirloom jewelry to get lost in the shuffle of the divorce. While you are still in the early stages of separating, take pictures of your valuables, and create a list of your assets. You will be glad you have clear documentation of these items during the division of the assets stage of the divorce process.
3. Prepare And Organize Important Documents
Divorce can definitely impact your financial situation, so you need to have a clear picture of your financial status. Make copies of your tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, investment portfolios, life insurance, and other important financial documents. Additionally, gather any mortgage statements or other documents relating to any property ownership or liabilities. Keep these documents clearly organized and stored in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box.
4. If You Need a Protective Order, Get One
In some cases, your partner has been violent or abusive towards you, and you may be frightened to go through with the divorce process. If you are worried that your spouse may lash out or threaten you or your children at any point while you are separating, consider obtaining a restraining order to keep your spouse from harassing you at your home and place of work.
Seek Counsel From a Compassionate Portland Divorce Attorney
Even if you are in the early stages of considering a divorce, it is wise to talk to a knowledgeable divorce and family law attorney. A divorce can impact your family’s future in major ways, so spend some time discussing all of your questions, concerns, and goals with your attorney.
Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C, a trusted Portland Divorce Attorney, will help you articulate your divorce goals and help you develop a plan of action to achieve them. Contact Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. today at (503) 233-8868.