Is preparing for divorce betrayal? To many people, it sounds callous, scheming, and in many ways manipulative.

But is it?

Preparing for divorce isn’t wicked as people make it sound. On the contrary, you can consider it as one of the wisest things you ever do.

The more prepared you’re for divorce, the high the probability it will end well. It will help you save money and time in the divorce process.

Divorce can be a very stressful time for anyone involved and requires a lot of effort to go smoothly.

Here are some helpful tips on how to prepare for divorce.

1. Take Inventory

You need to make a checklist of accounts, assets and corresponding documents making sure everything is in order.

Do you have any premarital agreements? It’s critical to note that you’ll need more than just financial documents during preparations.

Your list should also feature long-term care insurance policies, prepaid funeral arrangements, and estate planning documents, if applicable.

2. Have You Organized Your Documents?

After locating your documents, how will you ensure you can easily deliver them if your lawyer or accountant needs them? You need to develop an organizational system that suits you.

You may consider grouping similar documents together to minimize the probability of leaving out an important piece of information.

For instance, by gathering all your all your homeownership documents in one folder can help you accountant develop a more accurate estimate of your property’s value.

This will ensure that you receive a fair share when it comes to dividing joint assets.

3. Do You Know Your State’s Divorce Laws?

Division of property is an important part of the divorce process. Your state’s law on divorce determines who gets what especially if you fail to agree how you’ll divide the property.

Generally, there are two approaches adopted by states when it comes to the division of assets: community property and equitable division of property (referred also as non-community property).

Community Property Approach

According to this law, all the property a couple acquires during the marriage is considered community property and is divided equally between the couple.

This law doesn’t take into consideration how you acquired the property or how much each individual contributed to the acquisition of the asset in question.

It also disregards how you have titled the property or how the property was being used.

Equitable Distribution Approach

This is also known as non-community approach. Although many states embrace this approach, their applications vary from state to state. This variability depends on measures employed by the court.

However, in all states, there is usually a time frame where courts set two operative dates to determine what property is to be shared. It’s during this time frame that the courts decide if the property is marital or non-marital.

What’s the difference between marital and non-marital property?

Marital property refers to any assets or debts owned by the parties at the time of divorce. This includes any income earned by the spouses, and asset acquired by the use of these incomes during the marriage.

Each party is granted an equal interest in marital debts or assets. This stands irrespective how the property is held or titled.

This approach doesn’t take into consideration which party’s job financed the purchase or who incurred the debt.

Non-marital property refers to what each party owned before the marriage. This property is considered ‘separate’ since it’s kept apart from marital property.

Finally, after the classification is done, each party is awarded a portion and the asset actually has to be divided. This process is referred to as equitable distribution.

The division of the asset could be 70/30, 60/40, or even 50/50.

Under this approach, courts consider a number of factors and it’s not compelled to weigh the factors equally. This allows more flexibility and draws attention to the financial condition of both parties after the divorce.

4. Have You Seen a Marriage Counselor?

Before you find a divorce attorney, you need to see a marriage counselor when planning a divorce? This is to make sure that you’re not making an emotional decision.

Sessions with a marriage counselor will help you know if you’re 100 percent sure you want to get divorced.

Even if you’re 100 percent sure you want to get divorced, it’s important to seek therapy a deux. These sessions are meant to prepare you psychologically for the divorce process. This process is likely to be a grieving one, and that anguish can start prior to the actual divorce.

Therapy a deux will also equip you with communication skills. How are you going to share the news with your parents, children or anyone that deserves to know the truth? It’s a little like developing a PR approach.

You need to know how much information you’ll we willing to share with ‘third-parties’ once the relationship ends.

How do you want to be seen after divorce? Therapy a deux will help you decide how you want to be perceived, and then use that to keep your public behavior and emotions in control.

You also need to visualize how your life will change, in your home or generally once your spouse no longer occupies that given space.

All this will help you make peace with your divorce.

5. Be Prepared for Custody Disputes

Are you ready for custody disputes? First, start keeping a diary about your children. Note down who has time for their extracurricular activities and who takes them to different appointments. This will be very necessary if you foresee a custody dispute.

You also need to make any drug evaluations or police reports that indicate why your spouse shouldn’t be granted custody of the children. Ensure you keep these documents in a place where you can easily access.

How involved are you in your children’s lives? Do you attend a parent-teacher conference or other school functions?

Make sure you don’t move out of home until your divorce is finalized. Unless your partner is violent, stay put. The court is likely to award custody to a parent who spends more time with the children.

How to Prepare for Divorce Should Be Guided by Realistic Goals

How to prepare for divorce should be guided by one important thought: what do I want? You need to set realistic goals before you commit to pursuing a divorce.

Setting unrealistic goals is likely to frustrate your divorce process. Realistic goals place you in a much better position to begin a new life after the divorce.

Check out our blog posts to learn more about matters concerning families.