It is difficult to imagine being fully prepared to end your marriage from an emotional standpoint, but you know that taking certain steps will help get ready to file for divorce in Michigan. According to the American Institute of Stress, divorce ranks second in terms of the most anxiety-inducing experiences of a person’s lifetime – falling after the death of a spouse. By formulating a strategy for divorce before you initiate the process, you have a solid framework in place when it comes to addressing the key issues: Property division, alimony, and child custody, child support, and visitation.
You have probably heard it before, but one point should be a priority: A critical first step is retaining a Michigan divorce lawyer to help you navigate the legal requirements and court proceedings. Your attorney will tackle the challenges, but there are some preparation steps that are up to you when getting ready to file for divorce.
Assess Your Goals: There is more to divorce than just ending the marital relationship, so couples must also address financial and family matters through the process. It is helpful to evaluate what you want your future to look like, so consider your goals with respect to:
- Property division of marital assets, which are subject to equitable distribution under Michigan divorce laws;
- Seeking alimony or paying support to a lower earning spouse; and,
- Custody, parenting time, care, and support for minor children.
Avoid a Win-Lose Mindset
As you evaluate your objectives, do not take the position that divorce is a game that you need to win at all costs. An attitude of compromise can go a long way in getting agreement on the three aspects of divorce mentioned above. In areas where you are steadfast in your goals, understand that you may need to give something up.
Gather Important Documentation
Though you will not need to include all of it in your petition, you should collect paperwork regarding your finances and family when getting ready to file for divorce. Make sure you have:
- Deeds, titles, and other documentation showing ownership of assets;
- Statements for bank accounts, pension, retirement, and investments;
- Pay stubs and income tax records;
- Paperwork reflecting debts acquired during the marriage; and,
- Details on minor children.
Get Your Finances in Order
Parties typically live separately while divorce is pending, and they will certainly maintain separate households when the case concludes. Regardless of what may happen with respect to property division, alimony, and children, you need to be prepared for financial implications. Start by creating a budget, assessing monthly income and costs, and keeping track of unnecessary expenses.
A Michigan Divorce Attorney Will Guide You Through the Process
Laying the proper groundwork can ease the stress of divorce, but having skilled legal counsel on your side also ensures protection of your rights and future. For more information on how to get ready to file, please contact Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. We can schedule a consultation to discuss additional preparation tips and explain the basics of the Michigan divorce process.