Dannenbaum Law Firm, PLLC

Advance planning can smooth divorce process

Spring is a good time for cleaning the house, clearing away the clutter that's accumulated and getting ready for summer. For Virginia residents thinking about divorce, spring is a good time to organize their lives. Getting organized in advance of filing for divorce can help make that process smoother. It can also pave the way to getting the individual's new single life off to a good start.

The first step is to gather all necessary financial documents, including the tax returns and backup documents for the last five years. Other documents can include business financial statements, bank and other investment account statements, wills and retirement accounts. It's best to keep the documents in a safe place, perhaps with a trustworthy friend or relative, or a safe deposit box that no one else can access.

Virginians may also want to obtain their credit report to review and correct any errors. A good credit score can make obtaining credit as a single person easier. If the spouses have a joint account, each should obtain a bank account and credit card under their own name. They should continue to monitor joint accounts for unusual expenditures that may work against them during the divorce process.

Now also is a good time to start putting together a legal team to guide one through the process. A divorce attorney, a financial planner and a therapist are recommended; divorces can be complicated both legally and financially, and therapist may help individuals over the emotional hurdles that are encountered with the end of a marriage. Divorcing spouses should interview the top candidates for each position to make sure everyone will work well together.

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