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Updated by April Nordhaus on May 29, 2018
Headline for Checklist: Getting Ready for Your Divorce
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Checklist: Getting Ready for Your Divorce

Going through a divorce is never easy. But, the more you can do to prepare, the smoother the process will typically be. If you are planning to file for divorce, or if you think your spouse is getting ready to file, here are some tips for getting ready from our skilled McKinney divorce lawyers.

1

Understand that Getting Divorced is a Process

While there is no shortage of “DIY” divorce packages for sale on the Internet, it is important to understand that these rarely work for divorcing spouses’ individual circumstances. You need to go through the process of identifying your separate and marital assets, applying Texas’s community property rule, following the Texas child support guidelines, and understanding what it means to develop a custody plan that serves the best interests of your children. If you rely on a form without getting legal advice, you could very easily overlook issues with significant consequences for your post-marriage life.

2

Start Making Lists

What assets do you have that you owned prior to your marriage? What assets did you personally receive by gift or inheritance? These are generally considered “separate property” in Texas, which means that they are yours to keep in your divorce. What assets may be considered your spouse’s separate property? What assets will need to be divided? Making lists for each of these three categories will help ensure that you do not unintentionally give up property rights in your divorce.

It will also be helpful to make lists of: (i) you and your spouse’s respective sources of income; (ii) bank, investment and retirement accounts; and, (iii) joint and individual debts.

3

Consider Your Options for Divorce

When it comes to resolving any differences with your soon-to-be-former spouse, you potentially have a few options available. Most spouses are able to reach amicable divorce settlements, either through private negotiations, mediation, or the collaborative process. While going to court is sometimes necessary, it is generally a means of last resort, and preparing to address any potential conflicts in advance will help ensure that you do not need to put the outcome of your divorce in the hands of a judge.

4

Make Sure You Know What Mistakes You Need to Avoid

In addition to knowing what steps to take, it is also important to understand what mistakes you need to avoid. Despite being well-intentioned, many spouses make decisions that end up having significant negative ramifications for the outcome of their divorce. Learn about seven key mistakes to avoid during the divorce process.

5

Speak With an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Finally, whether you are thinking about buying a DIY divorce kit or you have questions about protecting your property rights or ensuring that you will be able to spend time with your children, you owe it to yourself to speak with an experienced divorce attorney. We offer free initial consultations, and one of our attorneys will be happy to meet with you in confidence to help you formulate a plan for moving forward.