So, you have decided to file for divorce. You are ready for your marriage to be over, you want to put the past behind you, and you are excited for your new life to begin. This checklist will help you get the process started:

1. Gathering Information

You will need to gather various pieces of information for purposes of your divorce. While you will not need everything immediately, it is a good idea to go ahead and try to collect as many of the following pieces of information as possible:

  • A list of your assets, making note of any items that may qualify as your or your spouse’s separate property.
  • A list of your debts, both individual and shared, and copies of your most-recent statements or bills.
  • A list of your bank, retirement and investment accounts and copies of your most-recent account statements.
  • Your most-recent W-2s or paystubs (and your spouse’s if you have access to them in your home) and copies of your most-recent tax returns.
  • Your family’s monthly budget, including how much you spend on your mortgage or rent, car payments, utilities, food, clothing, entertainment, and child-related expenses.
  • A copy of your premarital or postmarital/partition agreement, if any.

2. Weighing Your Options

From the earliest stages of the divorce process, you will need to make decisions that could significantly impact both the process and the outcome of your divorce. To help yourself prepare, you should begin thinking about questions such as:

  • Do you believe that you will be able to work with your spouse to arrive at an amicable settlement? Or, do you need to be prepared for divorce litigation?
  • Are you open to trying alternative means of dispute resolution, such as mediation or collaborative divorce?
  • Of your assets that do not qualify as your separate property, which ones are you set on keeping, and which ones are you willing to give up in your divorce?
  • What are your goals with regard to child custody and visitation (technically called conservatorship in Texas)? Are you interested in co-parenting, or might you need to consider parallel parenting for a period of time?
  • Are you interested in pursuing alimony as part of your divorce? Or, if you believe your spouse will seek alimony, are you prepared to argue against a post-divorce support obligation?

3. Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

Due to the legal and practical challenges involved in getting divorced (not to mention the long-term consequences of the decisions you make during the process), it is important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer. When you sit down with a lawyer for a free initial consultation, some of the questions you may want to ask include:

  • How much experience do you have representing spouses in divorce?
  • What can I reasonably expect with regard to property distribution, alimony, child support and child custody?
  • How long is the process likely to take?
  • Do you have experience in mediation and collaborative divorce?
  • How often do you represent clients in divorce litigation?

Schedule a Free Initial Divorce Consultation in McKinney, TX

If you live in the McKinney, TX area and are thinking about filing for divorce, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with one of our experienced divorce lawyers in confidence, please call 214-726-1450 or request an appointment online today.