Choosing to get a divorce is never a quick and easy decision. Whatever the reason for the divorce, separating from somebody that you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with can be tough.
You may have spent the past few months trying to sort things out with your partner after a significant argument. Or maybe you’ve been giving them the benefit of the doubt for their wrongdoings.
But there eventually becomes a point at which you can’t see things improving. At this stage, divorce seems to be the only feasible option.
So, when you reach this stage, what are the next steps?
Here are the important steps to take when you want to get a divorce.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer
The first step to any divorce is contacting an attorney. You can either get in touch with one of the family law attorneys in Utah or a divorce-specific lawyer.
Hiring an attorney is necessary to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible. Attorneys can guide you through each step of the divorce process and reduce the risk of anything going wrong.
Your lawyer can communicate with you and your partner to help you both come to an agreement. They can help to divide the assets between both parties in a reasonable and fair way.
This is known as mediation and it enables both parties to come away from the divorce feeling satisfied with the outcome.
Due to the emotional nature of divorces, your attorney will be there to provide non-biased, yet supportive guidance. They can offer support throughout the divorce process, which can take up to 12 months to finalize.
Organize the Finances
One of the most difficult aspects of getting a divorce is organizing the finances. Your divorce attorney can help with this process to help you distribute the marital property and debts accordingly.
The first step is identifying what you own. You may have bought a house or vehicle with your partner. The assets that are in both parties’ names or split in half upon divorce.
Things can become a little complicated with other assets, such as inheritances or personal belongings that are not under a specific name. Again, this is something that your attorney can help with if you and your partner cannot come to a mutual agreement.
It’s also important to consider your properties and assets overseas. For example, if you have bought a holiday home together, this will also need to be split equally between both parties.
If you have children, you might need to show documentation of childcare costs too. These costs are likely to be split between you and your spouse post-divorce.
It’s likely that you will need to provide some legal documentation as proof of ownership for your assets. This might include showing proof of purchase and value of your shared or individual assets.
Both parties will also need to provide documentation showing proof of income. If you and your spouse are both on a yearly salary, you were most likely need to show your most recent payments.
Things can become a little more complicated if you or your spouse (or both of you) or self-employed. You will need to provide documentation of each stream of income alongside your most recent tax return.
Your attorney will inform you of which specific documents you need, so make sure to liaise with them throughout the whole process.
Protect Your Own Finances
If the divorce is one-sided or things ended badly between you and your spouse, there is always a risk of financial disagreements. Your partner may raid your joint accounts and transfer everything into their own name.
As soon as you know that you want to file for divorce, you must take action to lock your finances. This prevents your spouse from moving any money from your joint accounts.
The alternative option is to transfer your half of the finances into your own personal bank account. You can then manage your own finances. If you do so, keep everybody informed and don’t hide the fact that you’ve transferred your half of the money.
Make sure to inform your attorney of every step you take regarding your finances and document everything.
Close Any Joint Accounts
Once your finances and assets have been equally split, you must then close every joint account that you and your spouse have together.
This is important to do prior to completing the separation. You don’t want to run into any financial issues further down the line. For example, if you kept your joint account open and your spouse refused to pay any bills, you might be liable for the charges.
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding your shared accounts, you may need to freeze the accounts instead. This prevents either of you from withdrawing or depositing any money into the accounts.
Once the divorce has been finalized, the amount in each closed account will be split equally between both parties. At this point, if your partner is in debt, it is no longer your responsibility. Any late payments that they make will, therefore, not affect your credit score.
Be Patient and Well-Behaved
Divorce can take a long time. It’s easy to get impatient or frustrated with the process. However, it’s important that you remain calm and well-behaved throughout.
During a divorce, the courts may watch you closely. This means that partying or dating may potentially have a negative impact on divorce proceedings.
Try to build a strong support system. Reach out to your parents, friends, and other family members for emotional support. Even if you requested the divorce, it can still be an emotionally challenging time. Having the support of your loved ones is crucial.