Preparing for Divorce
Some of the most common reasons for divorce include a lack of commitment, infidelity, too much conflict and arguing, and financial problems. Whatever the reason, divorce isn’t easy to navigate. It can be tedious and frustrating, plus a million questions may cross your mind.
What will happen to my kids? How will we survive financially? How do I even start the process? No matter what your questions may be, our divorce attorneys are more than prepared to serve you and put your mind at ease.
At our firm, Curiale Hostnik PLLC, we serve those in Tacoma, Washington, and the surrounding areas of Pierce County, including Puyallup, Gig Harbor, University Place, and Lakewood.
While preparing for divorce can cause some stress, having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side can make all the difference. And, you can begin taking simple steps today to prepare for a better tomorrow.
What to Consider Before Filing for Divorce
It’s important to make an informed decision before deciding to divorce your spouse. Counseling can be a great first step to see where the issues lie and how to move forward from them. However, if you’ve decided that divorce is the best option for you, the type of divorce you get will depend on you and your spouse. The different divorce types include the following:
Contested: A contested divorce can be a long and tedious process. In a contested divorce, one spouse isn’t open to the idea of divorce or fundamentally disagrees on divorce issues such as child custody. Since Washington is a no-fault divorce state, the divorce will proceed, even if the other spouse doesn’t want it. Generally, a contested divorce takes place through litigation in front of a judge in a family court.
Collaborative: In a collaborative divorce, each party meets with their respective attorneys and other specialists to come to an agreement about divorce topics. While this can be relatively quick if both parties come to an agreement, the problem lies if they disagree on divorce issues. In that case, the process starts over, and it goes through family court.
Mediation: Through mediation, the couple will meet with a mediator and resolve divorce issues together. A lawyer is not necessary through mediation. They will draft the necessary paperwork with you.
Divorce Process Steps
Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney
One of the first steps to take while preparing for a divorce is to hire a family law attorney. It doesn’t matter whether you’re serving the divorce or being served; a divorce lawyer on your side will make all the difference. A lawyer can help you understand your rights, guide you through the divorce process, and advocate for you and what you believe is best for you and your children. Don’t face your divorce alone. Reach out to us.
Secure Assets and Accounts
Securing your assets and accounts helps prevent one spouse from taking money from another or having personal information hacked into, even if it’s just social media. It also helps prevent any sort of fraud that the other spouse may do, such as hiding assets or finances to pay less alimony or child support. Prepare and protect yourself by making copies of important documents, canceling joint accounts, changing personal passwords, and so on.
Gather Personal Information
Although having personal information may seem trivial now, it may end up saving you a lot of frustration. Make sure that you have any and all personal information about you, your spouse, and your children. This can include birth certificates, bills, Social Security cards, school records, proof of residency, and employment information.
Making sure you have that information down now will help you throughout the divorce process and also at times in the future, such as moving, enrolling you or your kids in a new school, or looking for new jobs.
Assess the Financial Situation
Finances are extremely stressful. Not only should you understand what you have now, but you also need to plan for future expenses. If you’re a spouse who may need to pay alimony or child support, understand how much you may need for yourself and for that support.
If you’re a spouse who has been taking care of children and has not had an income-paying job, create a financial plan for that situation.
Maybe both spouses were working, and neither spouse will need to pay any support, but the financial situation may be different as you separate bills. Whatever your individual case may be, preparing for your different futures will help you and your family find stability and comfort.
Identify Personal and Marital Property
Identify your personal property versus your marital property. This can include houses, vehicles, household items, personal belongings, and more. Identifying the personal and marital property will help as you separate assets. Since Washington is a 50/50 divorce state, you and your spouse will separate your assets in half.
Collect Legal Documents
While collecting birth certificates, Social Security numbers, and other personal records is important, they aren’t the only documents you should collect. Be sure to make copies of any tax returns, insurance policies, or business information that you or your spouse own. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, also include those in your collection. Review the prenuptial agreements you made and make sure to be honest with your attorney through it all.
Prepare for the Next Stage of Your Life With Our Support
At Curiale Hostnik PLLC, we care about what happens to you and your family. If you’re preparing for your divorce in Tacoma, Washington, or the surrounding areas of Pierce County, including Puyallup, Gig Harbor, University Place, or Lakewood, reach out to us today for assistance. Take control of your situation and prepare for the next stage of your life.