Steps to Take Before You File for Divorce in Wake County
If you decide that you want to go through with a divorce in Wake County, you will need to begin to take steps as early as possible. Our hard-working team of Raleigh divorce lawyers provides these tips to help you to get through the early stages:
- Talk to an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
You can find do-it-yourself guides for just about anything today on the Internet – even divorce. So, you may be tempted to try to go it alone. However, this is usually not a good idea. A lawyer with training and experience in North Carolina divorce law will know how to protect your rights throughout your divorce and assist you with related matters such as child custody, child support, alimony and division of your property.
- Gather Your Documents
You will need to complete a great deal of paperwork and provide extensive documentation in the coming months. You should start to collect information and gather important documents now. Your attorney can work with you and help you to compile information such as:
- All income from all sources
- Debts that you and/or your spouse owe
- All cash and other liquid assets, including bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Real estate holdings
- College savings accounts
- An inventory of all personal property.
Be sure to identify and tell your lawyer about all of your assets and debts. For instance, even if you have doubts that a piece of property will be treated as “marital property” in your divorce, you should let your attorney know about it. If the property is exempt from distribution, the attorney will let you know.
- Decide Where You Will Live
Many people start to plan for a divorce but fail to plan on where they will live during the separation period or after the divorce. Do you plan to remain in the marital home? If you plan to move to a new residence, what can you afford? Do you need to stay nearby so that your children will remain close to the other parent? You will need to answer these questions.
- Your New Single-Person Budget
Married couples tend to have it better financially. As Money Crashers explains, a 2005 study showed that after 10 years of being married, the average married couple had a net worth of about $43,000, while a single person had around $11,000 or less. So, you may need to make some sacrifices and look for ways to revamp your budget until things smooth out.
- Separate Your Finances – and Everything Else You Can Think Of
As soon as possible, you should open a separate bank account and get the post office to forward your mail to your new address. If your spouse knows any user names, passwords or other key information to access social media accounts, online billing or e-mail accounts, you should open new, separate accounts and keep your information private.
- Talk to Teachers and Coaches
If you are the parent of minor children who are in school, you may want to discuss the pending divorce with their teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, after-school care providers or others who should be kept in the loop. For instance, if you have custody of your children, you could let those people know that you will be the one who picks up the children.
An Experienced Raleigh Divorce Lawyer Can Help You
Once you have completed all of your planning and preparation, your lawyer will draft a divorce petition, file it in the proper court in Wake County and take care of all other related paperwork. The petition will be the first formal step in the divorce process.
You should know: North Carolina is a no-fault state. To obtain a divorce, you will not need to prove that your spouse cheated or did something else bad. Instead, you will need to show that you have lived separate and apart from your spouse for at least 12 months.
To learn more, contact Kurtz & Blum, PLLC. We have the skills, experience and compassion to help guide you through even the toughest divorce. Call or connect with us online today for a confidential consultation.