If you’re thinking about starting the new year off “newly single” again, you’re far from alone. Research indicates that January is one of the most popular months for people to initiate a divorce.
Most of the time, a divorce is a foregone conclusion in November or December, but neither party wants to break up the family (especially if there are children involved) right before the holidays. Sometimes, they happen because one or both halves of a couple engage in a bit of self-reflection at the end of the year and simply resolve to make changes for the better.
Regardless of what’s brought you to this point, you should take some strategic steps today, particularly if you suspect that the divorce you’re thinking about filing in January will be complicated or you have significant assets to protect.
Gather your financial information
You can’t divide the marital estate until you have a complete picture of what that entails. Start compiling a list of all your assets, including real estate, investments, pensions, business interests and personal property. Do the same thing with any debts. Gather up as much financial documentation as you can.
Review any marital contracts
If you have a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement in place, that could significantly shorten your divorce process – but don’t rely on your memory about its terms. Get the document out and review it with the appropriate legal guidance so that you can understand its implications and enforceability.
Consult a few professionals
You may need professional help in several different areas during your divorce. Financial professionals can help you understand the tax consequences of dividing your assets and how to set a budget that’s realistic for your post-divorce lifestyle. Professional valuations may also need to be made for real estate, businesses and investments before you know their actual worth. It’s never too soon to start searching for the right people.
If you’re contemplating a divorce, it’s wise to think ahead. With the right legal guidance, you can make certain that your divorce goes as smoothly as possible.