For many people, the New Year is a time for change, and for some, that change means filing for divorce. If you are planning to file for divorce in 2016 (or if you are concerned that your spouse may want to file for divorce), this article outlines some important considerations to keep in mind.

Preparing for the Divorce Process

Going through a divorce can be a time-consuming and stressful process. However, there are steps you can take to make the process go more smoothly, and if you and your spouse are able to work together, there are options (such as mediation and collaborative law) that can help avoid the types of contentious disputes that tend to end up in court. If you anticipate going through a divorce in 2016, you should consider speaking with an attorney to discuss the options that are available.

In addition to speaking with an attorney, to begin preparing for a divorce, spouses generally should:

  • Identify separate and community assets – In a divorce, spouses must split their real and personal property. Texas is a community property state, which means that most property that either spouse acquires during the marriage will be subject to division in the divorce. To make sure you receive the property to which you are legally entitled, you should identify and log all of your personal and shared assets prior the start of the divorce process.
  • Collect personal and financial records – You should also collect and make copies of all of your important personal and financial records. This includes things like your birth certificate and passport, children’s birth certificates, insurance policies, bank account information, investment and retirement account statements, and titles to homes and vehicles. You do not want your spouse to withhold these records from you, and you will need access to your financial information for purposes of your divorce.
  • Avoid substantial purchases that are out of the norm – Remember, Texas is a community property state, so anything you purchase will likely be subject to division in your divorce. In addition, you do not want to create issues with depleting community funds, and you need to make sure you are able to cover the expenses of your divorce. Spouses contemplating divorce should also consider paying down debts and opening separate accounts in order to preserve funds. Your attorney will be able to provide more detailed guidance.
  • Review estate planning documents – Finally, now is also a good time to review your estate plan. Is your spouse the primary beneficiary in your will? Does he or she have power of attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf? These are important considerations that you should address sooner rather than later.

Knowing What to Expect After Your Divorce

In addition to planning for the process, it is important to think about what life will be like after your divorce as well. To a certain extent you will have control over things like property rights, financial support and child custody, and knowing what you expect and want from the future can help guide your decision-making during your divorce.

Contact the McKinney Family Lawyers at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC Today

Nordhaus Walpole PLLC has a team of experienced family lawyers who represent clients in divorces in McKinney, Texas. To learn more about how to prepare for divorce and the steps you need to take to protect your interests, call our offices at (214) 726-1450 or contact us online today.