When you believe a divorce is in your future, preparing early helps you protect yourself in the long run. Even if you still hope to preserve your marriage, getting a realistic picture of how your life might differ if the marriage ends could help you manage a divorce with less disruption for you and your children.
One of your first steps should be making an appointment with a local family attorney from the Atlanta Divorce Law Group. Our team can explain the law, answer your questions, and give you advice about how to prepare for divorce. Even if you decide to remain married, the conversation could provide you with clarity and help you avoid costly mistakes.
If you have children, you must prioritize their well-being and consider how you will parent as a divorced person. If your spouse is not an involved parent, your life as a single parent might not be much different than it is now. However, if you are used to sharing parenting responsibilities and participating in activities as a family, the adjustment could be jarring.
The Official Code of Georgia §19-9-1 requires parents to submit parenting plans to the court when they divorce. The judge will review the plan and consider whether it meets the children’s best interests. When considering the children’s best interests, the judge evaluates factors like:
The law presumes that children benefit from spending time with each parent. It also assumes the parents can share authority for decisions on the children’s religion, education, activities, and healthcare. Putting thought into how you and your spouse would co-parent if you did not live together is helpful when the time comes to negotiate custody issues.
Most divorces put a financial strain on both spouses. They must manage two households with the income that formerly supported one. Settling issues related to money and property is often contentious, but there is a lot you can do before filing for a divorce that can smooth the process of resolving financial issues.
Many couples spend all their income or go into debt to support their lifestyle. People sometimes forget to consider the impact debt could have on a property settlement. Reducing debt as much as possible and putting money aside for a few months of living expenses could make the time after filing and before settlement much less stressful financially.
Learning how much it costs to support yourself and your children will help you make important decisions before, during, and after your divorce. You will likely have to make some compromises in the property division process, and knowing where you can afford to make cuts is critical.
If you do not have a written budget, prepare one that accurately reflects how you live before divorce. Establish how much money you need every month for housing, food, clothing, transportation, utilities, children’s expenses, childcare, insurance, and entertainment. Having a firm grasp of how much you need to live can help you transition to an independent household.
Georgia allows spouses to receive post-divorce maintenance or alimony, but they must prove a need for it. They must also show that their former spouse can afford to pay it. If you have the education and skills to support yourself, or your spouse would struggle to support your household after a divorce, Georgia family courts might not award ongoing support. If you earn a substantial income, also consider the possibility that the court might order you to pay maintenance to your spouse.
You can save time and attorney’s fees by locating and organizing important financial documents before you file for divorce. Presenting your attorney with your bank and credit card statements, copies of recent tax returns, mortgage information, and similar documentation helps them efficiently prepare the Financial Affidavit you must file as part of the divorce proceedings.
With ample preparation, you can do a lot to reduce the stress and financial hardship of a divorce. These actions will free you to devote your time and energy to supporting yourself and your children through the transition and preparing for your new life as a single woman.
Our experienced family attorneys can be a source of information, guidance, and support. If you are a woman preparing for divorce, schedule a consultation today.