What to Do Before You File for Divorce in Arizona

Divorcing your spouse is a life-changing event and you shouldn’t go into it without careful thought and preparation. If you or your spouse are likely to file for divorce, taking certain positive actions ahead of time can make the process smoother, less stressful and more likely to have a satisfactory outcome.

A productive course of action prior to filing for divorce can include these steps:

  • Consider possible resolutions — If your spouse is a reasonable person, it might pay to have frank discussions to try to resolve some of the issues divorce would raise, such as child custody, alimony and division of marital property. You may be able to agree to a legal separation. Even if you can’t agree, these discussions can help you prepare for the divorce process ahead.
  • Talk to an attorney — A skilled lawyer’s representation will be essential if the divorce is likely to have contested issues, so an early consultation is beneficial. Even if you expect your divorce to be uncontested, an experienced attorney can give you useful advice about the numerous aspects of divorce that can affect your future.
  • Collect financial records and other documents — You need to have a complete picture of your assets and earnings and those of your spouse. This means getting hold of all financial records, including bank and investment account statements. These will be important in negotiations and decisions about division of marital property and awards of alimony and child support. You will also need to gather other vital documents, such as property deeds, car titles, tax records and insurance policies.
  • Prepare financially for marital separation — Even before a divorce becomes final, you will likely be living on your own resources. You will need to have your own bank account, credit card and insurance. If you are the one to move out, you will need to find a new home. If you don’t have a job, you will need to accumulate enough financial resources to survive until you either find one or are awarded alimony.
  • Help your children cope — If you and your spouse are having marital problems, your children might be aware of them and could use some emotional support to prepare for what lies ahead. You can also explain to the children how a parenting plan after divorce will likely affect their living arrangements.

Other pre-divorce steps may be necessary in situations where the health and safety of you or your children are threatened. You may have to seek a protective order from the court or other remedies.

The experienced attorneys at Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C., are ready to give practical, reliable advice before and throughout the divorce process. Call us at 602-789-3497 or contact us online to schedule a conference at our Scottsdale office.