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Five things you must do when getting a divorce

Divorce is never easy. It is the end of a chapter in your life, but during this emotional time, you need to take charge and be ready for the life-changing decisions you are about to make. There are five main things you must do before you head to divorce court.

1. Get your financial records in order: Once divorce proceedings begin, you will need a clear picture of all of your financial records in order to ensure that your finances are properly divided. This starts with making copies of your financial records. These records can include:

  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • Retirement accounts
  • Investment statements
  • Employee benefits
  • Mortgage documents
  • Life insurance
  • Social Security statements,
  • Automobile titles
  • Credit card statements

2. Know your financial needs: You will want to know what your monthly financial needs are going forward. This is the time to complete a budget and determine your expenses. Your checkbook is a good place to start. Go through it to determine what you have spent money on for the past year. You will also want to track daily cash outlays as well. In addition, if you do not have a credit history of your own, now is the time to start obtaining one by getting a credit card in your own name.

3. Determine what your spouse makes: If your spouse is self-employed, you need to track their income over several months to learn what their average monthly income actually is. If they are employed elsewhere, check their most current pay stub. This information will be important if there is to be either child support or alimony awarded.

4. Make an inventory of the family's possessions: Walk through your home and make a list of all major family possessions. This can include artwork, automobiles, furniture, appliances, jewelry and anything you may have in a safe deposit box. You might consider taking pictures as well.

5. Contact an attorney: Now is not the time to try and go through this process on your own. You should contact an attorney that specializes in divorce as soon as possible. The experienced attorneys at Murphy & Dunn PC can help walk you through the process and help protect your best interests throughout the process.

Divorce is never something to look forward to, but with a little planning ahead of time, you can make the process as smooth as possible.

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