Start a War Chest.
You are going to need your own money for a divorce in order to maintain yourself and your children for a while, especially if your spouse decides to cut off support to the rest of the family. You will also probably need funds to hire a lawyer. If there is any way to start a separate account to guard against future financial contingencies, now is the time to do it. If you have to borrow money from a relative or friend, be sure to sign a promissory note so the court will look at this as a loan that you have to repay and not as a gift.
Note: as of 2016, O.C.G.A. § 19-5-7 states that after a petition for divorce is filed, property transfer from the marital party to another party is prohibited except for bona-fide debt payments. Be careful not to gift marital property to other parties, and be sure to certify all transactions in writing.
Keep a Divorce Calendar.
If you are currently using a desk calendar or day planner, you will now need to include your divorce events. There will be meetings with your lawyer and court deadlines to keep track of, and even scheduling discussions with your spouse may be helpful. At the very least, if your spouse misses appointments or meetings, you can use the instances as compelling evidence in court, as long as the meetings are well recorded. Visitation dates with children and individuals close to your children need to be dated in order to show up as evidence of your participation in your children’s lives in your divorce.
Make a To Do List.
Making a to-do list is the easiest way to stay organized and keep priorities in check during a divorce. List all the items you have to accomplish and mark them off as you go through the list.
Prepare a Divorce Notebook.
A divorce produces a lot of paperwork, and it can be overwhelming. The simplest way to keep track of all the papers is with a chronological three ring binder.
Set up a Divorce File.
You may prefer to set up individual files for various categories of divorce papers. Some examples are correspondence with your attorney, drafts of agreements, financial information and pleadings. Organized files can reduce a lot of headache.
Cut / Reduced Expenses – Make a Budget.
If your family is like most American families, you have been spending close to your entire income, if not more, and when one household becomes two, there will not be enough money to pay the expenses of both unless something changes. If you have debt in your name, such as credit cards or student loans, you will want to pay those debts down as much as possible before a divorce. You may have to cut expenses, downgrade a car, or even sell the house. If your spouse does not voluntarily support you and the children, your remedy is to ask the Court to order support, which may not always occur. Regardless, it’s important to settle finances.
Stick to a Routine.
It will help if you try to keep things as normal as possible in your life. Do not skip meals or change sleeping habits. Positive routines like to-do lists, regular exercise, and frequent social interaction will help you keep focus.
Try to maintain a positive outlook and do not let yourself be lured into needless conflicts with your spouse. You will need his signature on a settlement agreement before your divorce is over, and you’ll still be parents together for years after the divorce.
Make a Plan.
Divorce can be very stressful times in one’s life, so take it one day at a time. Focus on the present, not the past. You have to realize that not everything in a divorce is within your control, so remember to keep your cool. Make a plan detailing how you want to handle your divorce, and stick to it.
Gather Financial Information.
The more you can organize your financial documents, the more you will reduce your attorney fees and improve your chances of success in court procedure. You are going to have to gather and organize a lot of information for your attorney or your case. A good way of organizing the information you find is a financial statement which can be used as a checklist. Many courts have a form financial statement available both at the court clerk’s office and online. Filling out this form can be very valuable organizationally. Give it to your lawyer at the first meeting to save time and expense.
Note: You will need to do this anyway to present all your financial statements to the court, usually starting with the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit. Keeping important financial information secret can be heavily penalized in a divorce case.
Do Your Research.
It is valuable for you to learn everything you can about divorce early in the process. If you know little or nothing about the process, you may not make the best decisions or choices. Most people are uncomfortable with the unknown. You can raise your comfort level and your odds of success by finding out what is going to happen before it happens. The Internet is a convenient way to obtain summary and detailed information about divorce, but you can learn through bookstores, libraries, friends’ experiences, and support groups. Keep in mind that every divorce is different. It’s a good idea to learn about the basics of divorce law in your state early in the process, and state statutes / case law is readily available on the internet.
Obtain Legal Advice from and Experienced Divorce and Family Law Attorney.
If you are facing divorce, call us at 770-709-1247 to have a helpful discussion with one of our highly experienced divorce attorneys today. We offer free consultations to qualifying potential clients and offer weekend appointment, so don’t hesitate. Contact >