5 Things You Must Do Before You File for a Divorce

Filing for a divorce is never an easy decision. No matter what has transpired between you and your spouse, there was a time when you both believed you would be together forever. Chances are, you both want this to end as quickly and painlessly as you can.

If you are filing for divorce in Florida, one of you must have lived in the state for at least six months. One party will file for the dissolution of the marriage and the other party will be considered the respondent. If one party does not want to get a divorce, the petitioner may have to get the sheriff to serve them with papers.

There are five things a divorcing couple can do to make their split go smoothly.

1. Decide If Your Marriage Is Truly Irreconcilable

If you are thinking of filing for divorce, chances are you have been unhappy in the marriage for a long while. However, it is always a good idea to seek marriage counseling. Even if you ultimately decide to split, a divorce can be more amicable than it otherwise would be, if you talk things through first. A trained psychotherapist can work with you to talk over the reasons for the dissolution of the marriage and what your relationship to one another will be after your divorce. Florida is a no-fault state for divorce, but it is a good idea to have some concrete evidence that you tried to save the marriage.

2. Collect Your Financial Records

Marriage is largely a financial institution and the property, debts, and assets you acquired during the marriage are certain to figure prominently in the divorce. Be sure to gather records of joint bank accounts, car notes and any deeds that you may have. It is a good idea for each person to have their own personal copy of the records.

You should make a list of the things you each brought into the marriage. If you want to sell anything, you may want to talk about doing it prior to the divorce to make things less complicated. If a prenuptial agreement exists, you should each have a copy of your own.

3. Hire an Attorney

Even if your divorce is amicable, it is a good idea to have an attorney help you with the paperwork. An experienced divorce lawyer will have filled out the necessary paperwork for a divorce in the Sunshine State many times. Having the appropriate paperwork filled out makes any legal case go faster. It is always a good idea to have the opinion of an objective third party when you are divorcing. They can help you decide how to divide your property and they can help you come to a custody agreement for any children that might be involved.

4. Make a Custody Plan

Child custody is always the hardest part of a divorce. You and your attorney will want to make a detailed plan for where your child will live, what school they are to attend, and what amount of support will be required from which parent.

5. Don’t Behave Like You Are Divorced Until You Are Divorced

Even if you are legally separated and no one is contesting the divorce, you should never start dating until you are actually single. Being intimate with someone other than your spouse is still considered adultery. Florida is one of the few states that still considers adultery a crime. If you suspect your spouse of cheating, you may want to provide your attorney with any credit card receipts or other evidence you have of the affair.

If you handle your divorce properly, you can stay friends or at least friendly acquaintances. It can be the beginning of a new chapter of your life. Visit Patrick McLain Law to set up a consultation with a divorce attorney.

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