Few couples approach divorce without some level of stress and anxiety. It is a major life change, even for those who have only been married a short time. However, if you and your spouse have decades of marriage behind you, there will be many complex and difficult decisions ahead.
It is easy to let the emotional turmoil of a divorce overcome you. Allowing emotions to control you at this time can lead to unfortunate mistakes that can hinder your ability to move forward with confidence and financial stability. It is wise to set your emotions aside while you deal with the legal matters of your divorce.
Getting your ducks in a row
Remembering that your emotional break from your spouse is a separate entity from the legal divorce proceedings may help you focus your attention on the practical matters you must handle. It is critical that you gather all the documentation you will need as you go through asset division, including these and others:
- Tax returns from the last three years
- Information from your joint financial accounts, such as numbers and balances
- Documentation of any home improvements, mortgage statements and home appraisal information
- Social security information for your spouse's earnings
- Information related to your spouse's total income
- An inventory of assets and their costs or values
These documents may not be accessible to you indefinitely, so you want to obtain the information, make copies and organize the documents to facilitate easy access when you need them.
Taxes and accounts
One of the common mistakes divorcing couples make is to fail to understand how their taxes will change when they are newly single. Tax issues are also part of any division of investments and other property, so you will want to know which assets will result in negative tax ramifications for you.
You would be wise to deal with your joint accounts as quickly as possible. An active credit card with your name on it may leave you responsible for further debt your spouse may incur. Closing your accounts or removing your spouse as an authorized user on an individual account may protect you from this.
What many spouses fail to realize is that divorce does not have to be a long, difficult court battle. Many save time, money and stress by using a form of alternative dispute resolution. If this is appropriate for your situation, you will want to find a Michigan attorney who understands the process of mediation. Even if you go the traditional route, you will benefit from a legal advocate who will fight for your best interests.