With most couples, one spouse or the other does not usually suddenly decide out of the blue that he/she wants a divorce. The decision to end the marriage usually comes after considerable thought, sometimes even counseling. However, planning and preparation is key with everything, including divorce. Where do you start? This is a question we get asked often. We have provided a bit of guidance below to help you prepare for a divorce.
Learn as much as you can before filing. Whether reading articles online or books, having a little knowledge about the laws in Florida and the courts can make the process a little less intimidating.
Get documents in order (personal, financial, assets, business, etc.). Even before you discuss a divorce with your spouse, you may want to start gathering documents - otherwise, you may find that some of them have disappeared as your spouse may have started collecting them. Birth certificates, marriage license, any prenuptial or separation agreements you may have drawn up with your spouse, tax returns, bank and brokerage account statements, insurance polices (life, auto, health, homeowners), leases for rental property, titles/loan statements for cars, boats, or other property owned jointly or separately, business contracts and business partnership/shareholder agreements, credit card statements - literally all documents that may affect the outcome of the divorce.
Assess personal items of value to you. Many times, splitting up becomes contentious. Hopefully it won't get to that point, but don't take chances. You don't want to make it obvious that you are removing things from your home, but you do want to protect those things of particular value to you such as family heirlooms, photos, jewelry, or other property that was yours prior to your marriage.
Change access to accounts. Consider changing passwords for online access to accounts such as a bank or pension account, your email, etc.
How drawn-out or stressful a divorce is often depends on how well the two spouses behave and to what extent they agree on all of the issues at hand. Some divorces become extremely acrimonious with one party (or both) becoming angry and bitter over every detail, while others are amicable. Strive to be as friendly and fair as possible, particularly if you have children as their lives will be changed and you want to make it as easy on them as possible.
Read up on other issues that will come up when you divorce, particularly if you share children. You will want to know everything possible about custody, child support, even alimony or the division of marital property. In addition, you will want to understand the division of debts, how a divorce will affect your taxes, and the division of marital assets or property. While you can find in-depth information regarding all of these issues online, it is also a good idea to consult with a skilled Orlando divorce attorney who will answer your questions and make the process as stress-free as possible.