Gather copies of all available financial documents. A top priority is proof of both your current income and your spouse’s current income, such as tax returns, recent paystubs, or banking records. The court will also need proof of the value of all marital property and the amount of any marital debts as of the date of filing. It is therefore important to have statements as close in time as possible to that date. By gathering this information, including account numbers and other identifying information, you will reduce the amount of time needed by your attorney to assemble needed information and therefore reduce the amount of your legal fees.
Prepare a short term plan regarding your living arrangements for yourself and your children. Generally, one of the parties will vacate the shared home by agreement or pursuant to court order before any final resolution is reached. Would you prefer to remain in the marital home on a temporary basis pending this resolution? Do you want your children to remain in the marital home or attend school in their current school district? Can you afford to pay the expenses associated with the marital home (two spouses rarely can live as well in two separate residences as they did in one residence with combined incomes). Your attorney will be better able to formulate a strategy if you have a clear preference for your living arrangements pending a final resolution of your separation or divorce action.
Compile a detailed list of all marital and non-marital assets owned by you and your spouse, including debts. Marital property is generally any property or debt acquired during the marriage which exists as of the date of filing of the marital litigation. A great deal of time is usually spent in identifying the marital and non- marital assets. The early creation of a comprehensive list will save you time and money. Having this list at the start of the action will allow your attorney to formulate a strategy to provide your desired result as to property/debt division.
Consult with trusted, confidential, and objective family members, friends or counselors regarding your intentions to separate or divorce. You need to listen to such individuals because most separation/divorce clients can have clouded judgment on one or more issues due to the emotional nature of separation/divorce. Discussing your intentions will also allow you to uncover additional issues and make a list of questions for your initial and subsequent meetings with your attorney.
Contact a family attorney in your area. If you are in Rock Hill or York County SC please contact us. We would love to help you. It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of legal representation in matters of family law, in particular separation or divorce.