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  1. Put Your Kids First. Of the parties to a divorce, the children are the ones who can often suffer the most. Try to maintain consistency in your children’s routines as much as you can and NEVER say anything negative to them about your spouse. Remember, one-half of your child’s DNA is that of your spouse and by insulting your spouse, your child may feel like you are insulting them. Take the high road.
  1. Interview and Hire Your Advocate. Before you file for divorce, it is essential that you become informed about your legal rights. An experienced family law attorney will be able to advise you on the law as it applies to the facts in your specific situation. Remember that a divorce can become very expensive so it is critical that you hire an attorney who can balance the value of settling with fighting for you, should the need arise.
  1. Gather Information About Your Estate and Finances. Go through household files and make copies of what you find such as: tax returns, bank statements, check registers, brokerage account statements, retirement account statements, mortgage documents, credit card statements, wills, etc. This shall include making copies of financial information stored on your home computer. This shall also include obtaining documentation showing your income and the income of your spouse. Obtaining this information through discovery procedures in the middle of your divorce can become an expensive process, a little planning and information gathering can help your attorney learn about the value and size of your estate.
  1. Make a Post-Divorce Budget. Do you know what amount of funds are required to maintain your household? How much is the mortgage, how much are the household bills? You will need this information to help assist you in understanding your costs of living after the divorce. Your budget will be estimating the expenses but it is important to have an idea of what you will need to survive on a monthly basis post-divorce. Also, you may consider consulting with a financial planner to learn about how you will manage your assets and income post-divorce.
  1. Establish Credit in Your Own Name. If you do not have any credit in your name alone, you should start working on getting your credit established. This can be done by obtaining a credit card in your name only. After a divorce some people find they have a hard time purchasing a home or car because they have spent years sharing credit with their spouse. Once you have a credit card in your name, use it sparingly and make sure you are able to pay it off each month. Remember, the goal is to work on a good credit score, not to run up debt that you cannot afford to pay off.

For more information, please contact Patricia J. Dixon.