Divorce takes planning – these tips can help

Every year in the United States, there are approximately two million divorces. In other words, the divorce rate is roughly 50 percent. And, while you probably did not walk down the aisle with the intention of divorcing in two years or in 20, that does not mean you should not have a plan in place in case you do divorce. In fact, divorce requires planning before you start the process, during the proceedings and even after.

In general, there are three phases of divorce. The first is filing the paperwork, the second is discovery and the third is the disposition. The discovery phase usually involves extensive research into both your and your spouse's financial backgrounds. This stage will have a heavy bearing on how the disposition stage goes in terms of dividing marital property. However, before you even begin the first phase, it is vital that you take the time to implement the following divorce planning tips.

Do some soul searching

Before you settle on ending your marriage, take some time really examine your options and determine if divorce is right for you. Keep in mind that divorce is a major life-changing decision that could be a very expensive and stressful process. Be sure it is the right choice before you move forward.

Do your research

Divorce laws vary from state to state, so be sure you are aware of Georgia's divorce laws before you end up in a divorce court in Atlanta. Even though your divorce attorney will be knowledgeable about the laws, it would not hurt for you to know the various filing deadlines, how to legally separate and other divorce laws relevant to your situation.

Set goals

Before you start divorce proceedings, you need to set both personal and financial goals. This will help to keep things in perspective as you navigate through the divorce settlement process.

Consider the children

Custody is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Make the best interests of your children your primary focus when you are considering custody options. Examine various custody arrangements and pick one that fits their needs.

Get organized

Take the time to organize your financial records such as bank statements, mortgage statements, investment portfolios and any other statements that pertain to your finances. If you already have this information organized, it will make it easier for your attorney to help you determine a fair property settlement. In addition, make a realistic budget for your post-divorce income and expenses so that you can clearly see what you will need in terms of the settlement.

If you are thinking about divorce, it is important that you make a plan. The above tips can help you as you start the divorce process.

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