The best thing men can do before filing for divorce is to define their goals.
Is time with their kids most important? Protecting their assets? Having those big goals in mind before filing is a helpful reference point further down the line.
It helps to be able to focus on what’s truly important when emotions rise and things get contentious. You don’t want to be in the middle of a mediation or trial and all of a sudden wonder why you’re fighting over a crock pot.
Those goals should also help inform your behavior prior to filing.
If you want primary custody of your children, start defining your role in their lives. Are you the parent who takes them to soccer practice or helps with homework every night?
Evaluate your goals and make sure your actions are consistent with those goals. That should put you in a better position prior to filing.
New York courts, as with most courts across the country, look at marriage as an economic partnership.
Therefore, the main function of a divorce is to identify all the assets and debts of the marriage and work through the best way to untangle them.
To get a clear picture of all the assets and debts, the court will require financial disclosure through some basic documentation. Typically you will need several years of taxes, at least a year of bank statements and credit card bills, as well as your most recent statements relative to any retirement plans.
Gathering this documentation and having a clear picture of your finances is a tedious process that most clients find overwhelming.
Prior to commencing an action for divorce, I recommend gathering these documents — either the originals or copies. This should also help you to understand the financial state of your marriage, giving you a better idea of what a reasonable outcome may end up being.
I have had a lot of clients recently underestimate what their spouse or significant other is willing to do.
Litigation has a tendency to bring out the worst in people, and although a client might think his wife does not want to fight and wants to get things settled, that doesn’t always happen when they are served with divorce papers.
The best thing that guys can do to prepare themselves for moving forward before papers are filed is to mentally prepare to litigate, or in other words, prepare for the worst.
If we end up settling and the opposing party is reasonable, that is always a plus. However, it helps to plan as though we are going to court rather than count on settling at the outset.
Seek an attorney in your area that specializes in divorce / family law. There are so many intricacies of divorce law that you want to make sure you have an attorney who actively handles this kind of case.
Even if you believe your divorce may be simple, an attorney will be able to provide insight on the process itself and will help to represent your best interests.
Further, many people who proceed without an attorney fail to include certain necessary provisions in a final divorce decree, which may ultimately cause further litigation after the divorce is final.
You also need to get a handle on your finances. You want to be aware of all assets, debts and expenses going into a divorce so you can make sure that these can be accounted for.
Running a credit report in both your name and your spouse’s name can be helpful in making sure you have a clear understanding of your finances.
The most important preparation that a person facing divorce can do is to ensure that they have all documents to substantiate all marital values for both assets and debts, including bank records, retirement account records, mortgage statements, credit card statements, etc.
Generally, the more documentation, the better, as documentation can be what makes or breaks a case at times.
It is important to have all documents from the date of marriage, the date of separation and current statements. If you do not have the documents readily available, begin to contact the various companies and see if you can obtain the documents.
With documentary evidence, a problem can easily be determined as opposed to being a “he said, she said” issue.
Also, I would suggest making multiple copies of documents in the event documents go missing and / or are destroyed.
Having a moral support system behind you can be instrumental in getting through a potentially difficult period in your life. You are entering a time where you will be losing a former partner.
Sometimes it helps to have close family members and friends nearby to discuss the life change in order to properly handle any emotional and mental strains divorce can create.
Having trusted people around for support may also yield benefits in that you have someone to discuss options presented by your lawyer or to bring to your attention facts that should be presented to your attorney or the judge that you may have overlooked.
Additionally, a proper financial support system, including a budget and source of income, should be generated so you can make sure you and your interests are protected throughout the divorce. You need to be ready for the possibility of paying support to your spouse for her or any children.
Having an attorney for your divorce is critical; so a budget outlining how you can afford counsel over the upcoming months should be drafted and adhered to as best as possible.
Depending on the contents of the marital estate and the make-up of your family, you may also need to ensure you have the ability to hire any necessary experts, such as actuaries to value pensions or custody evaluators to assess who should have primary custody of the children.
The best way to prove the truth is to have evidence supporting the same. Therefore, it is extremely important to document everything.
Keeping emails, text messages, etc., can help prove what was actually said.
In Oklahoma, a party to a conversation can record it, and in turn, recorded conversations and / or encounters can be used to prove what actually happened vs. what someone thinks or said happen.
Finally, in custody case, keeping a daily calendar / log of time with the children and parenting tasks completed can help prove who is the primary custodial parent.
Before either party files a divorce complaint, there are several steps that a party can take to prepare for what lies ahead.
The first step is, of course, to consult with an attorney and find out your legal options whether you are the party planning to initiate the divorce process or the anticipated defendant in the matter.
The next step is to gather your financial documentation so that a full and complete picture of the marital estate may be gained. This will be essential whether the parties are to proceed with negotiation or litigation.
Depending on the circumstances, it may also be an option to draft proposals as to custody and division of property and debt before the complaint is even filed. If the parties are able to reach agreements prior to initiation of the litigation process, this can in save both parties time and attorney fees.