You are emotionally ready to file for divorce. But what do you need to do to prepare? You may have friends or family who have told you how rocky it can get. Fortunately, you can do the following things to prepare for that first meeting with your attorney and make the road ahead a little smoother:
- Gathering your personal information. You will be filling out many forms during this process, so creating a list of all your information will be a time-saver in the long run. Here are some examples of things to keep handy:
- Family members. Names, birthdates and social security numbers of everyone in your household, as well as any children from other relationships.
- The marriage. When and where did you get married? Did you live in any other states? If you have already separated, when did that happen?
- Education and employment. List both of your degrees and current employers, along with salaries.
- Information about the marriage. Your attorney will want to discuss what happened during the marriage that led to the divorce. Be prepared to share so your attorney can identify the best type of divorce for you. Ohio allows for several types of divorce, including:
- Fault-based divorce, where one party charges the other with fault for the failure of the marriage.
- Contested divorce, where the parties cannot agree on certain issues regarding the divorce and need a judge to intervene.
- Uncontested divorce, sometimes referred to as dissolution, where both parties amicably agree to the divorce terms, or where one party simply does not respond.
- Financial information. You will spend much of your time deciding how to divide your assets. Inventory everything you own personally, and what you own as a couple. Photographs are an easy way to do this for your personal property. You may have to take certain high-end items, like artwork and jewelry, to an appraiser. Other assets you will want to document include:
- Real estate. Make sure you know how all real estate is titled.
- Gift or inheritance. Note any items either of you received by gift or inheritance during the marriage.
- Retirement assets. Document their value.
- Debts. Most people have some debt, and many married people have debt as a couple. You will need to decide how to handle that, as well.
- Business assets. If one of you owns a business, you may have to put a value on the business.
Other considerations include what you hope to accomplish with the divorce and your plans for your future. Do you want to sell the family home or keep it for yourself? Do you plan to move to another city and hope to bring your children with you? These are issues you will want to discuss with your attorney so you can work toward your goals during the process. Hopefully, these tips will help you end up where you want to be at the end of your journey.