Divorce Quick Start Guide
The thought of getting divorced can be overwhelming. As you are processing the reality that a marriage you thought would last forever is coming to an end, it can be hard to figure out how to move forward. The first steps on your path to a new life may be the hardest to take, especially if you don’t know what to do or where to turn for answers.
At the Simpson Legal Group, LLC, we believe that empowering our clients with practical, actionable information is an essential part of divorce representation. That’s why we’ve put together this Quick Start Guide. By taking these steps, you can prepare yourself financially, practically, and emotionally for the divorce process. This can go a long way toward making your divorce less disruptive and can enhance your ability to protect your rights.
When starting on the path of divorce, we would suggest the following steps which may help you to move forward in the process:
- Figure out living arrangements, even if it’s just temporary. If you and your spouse own a home, who gets to keep and stay there can be one of the most contentious issues in your divorce. Long-term, this will be resolved either by agreement or by a judge. In the meantime, you should have a plan for living arrangements while your divorce is pending.
- Assemble financial information and documents. In an Iowa divorce, both parties will have to make full and complete disclosures regarding finances. But having that information sooner rather than later can help you and your attorney move the process forward and reduce the chances that your spouse will be successful in concealing assets or otherwise playing fast and loose with the numbers. Getting a complete picture of your family’s financial picture may take some doing if your spouse handled the bills, taxes, and other money matters, but try to have the following to share with your divorce attorney:
- Several years of your tax returns;
- Checking and savings account statement;
- Records of all investment accounts and pensions;
- Mortgage statements;
- If you or your spouse operate a business, secure copies of the business records;
- Inventory of the contents of safe deposit boxes;
- Credit card bills and credit reports;
- Income of each spouse;
- Expenses of each spouse;
- Assets of the spouses (joint and separate), including such things as art, antiques, fine jewelry, cash, vehicles, real estate and furniture
- Liabilities of each spouse;
- Pension plans, retirement accounts, 401(k)s, IRAs, and any other employee benefits;
- Life, health, and disability insurance policies owned by each spouse;
- Get support. Divorce may be a personal journey, but it’s not one you should take alone. Establish a support system that can help you with the emotional, practical, and logistical challenges that divorce brings. Reach out to family and friends, seek professional help or support groups where you can share your feelings and experiences with others going through similar experiences, and, of course…
- Retain an experienced divorce attorney who you are comfortable with. Your relationship with your spouse may be ending, but you will be starting a relationship with someone who is an essential ally and guide: your divorce attorney. The attorney you hire should have the knowledge and experience needed to help you through the process, but also should make you comfortable, inspire trust and confidence, and give you a feeling that you are in good hands. Your lawyer will be your partner throughout your divorce, make sure you find the right fit for you.
Simpson Legal Group, LLC: Council Bluffs Divorce and Family Law
For individuals facing divorce or family law issues in and around Council Bluffs, Iowa, Simpson Legal Group, LLC is a tested and trusted resource during a difficult time. We welcome the opportunity and privilege of meeting with you to discuss your issues and concerns, answer your questions, and provide guidance as you start down this path. Please call us at (712) 256-9899 to arrange for a consultation.