How to Prepare for Divorce
Considering whether you should end your marriage is one of the most important and difficult decisions you will ever encounter. It is important to approach the question from a rational perspective rather than solely an emotional one. In many ways it is a business decision that requires you to evaluate many issues. Once you review this list of questions, you may be more prepared to work with an attorney.
• Who will the children live with?
• If they live with your ex-spouse, how often will you be able to visit them?
• How will you and your ex-spouse make decisions about the children, such as their health and education?
• Who pays for the children's day care, education, extracurricular activities and other living expenses?
• Is shared residential custody right for your family? How does it affect child support payments?
• What about spousal support or maintenance? Will you receive it or need to pay it? How much and for how long?
• Will maintenance increase or decrease in the future due to the changed financial circumstances of either of the parties, economic conditions or other factors?
• Will the right to receive support payments be waived?
• How much child support will you or your ex-spouse pay?
• Will child support increase or decrease over time?
• Who will live in the marital home during the divorce process? Who will pay the expenses associated with maintaining the marital home?
• Will one of the spouses keep the marital home or will it be sold? How will the proceeds be divided?
• If someone keeps the home, will one of the parties deed their interest in it to the other?
• If you decide to sell the home, will both spouses be involved in the sale and closing? Who decides the selling price or if a broker will be used?
• Who will be responsible for major repairs and the costs of preparing the home for sale?
• Who will be entitled to deduct the mortgage interest charges and real estate taxes for income tax purposes?
• Who will be responsible for any income (capital gains) taxes which may be imposed as a result of the sale of the home?
• Who will be entitled to receive any refund that may be due on any past joint income tax returns filed by the parties?
• If there is a deficiency on any past joint income tax returns, who will be responsible for it?
• If you file joint income tax returns for the present year who will be responsible to pay any taxes due and who will be entitled to receive any amount refunded?
• Who will be entitled to claim the children as exemptions for income tax purposes?
Credit Card Debt/Lines of Credit
• Who will be responsible for paying down credit card debt incurred during the marriage?
• Should you cancel all joint credit cards or lines of credit?
• Who will be responsible for your attorney’s fees?
• Will you have to contribute to your ex-spouse’s attorney’s fees?
This list is not exhaustive but it does give you an idea about the issues that should be considered before pursuing a divorce. It is always in your best interest to consult with a family law lawyer to make sure you understand all the relevant issues and their legal impact on you.