If you have decided that you are going to divorce your spouse, there are a few steps that you need to take before you talk to a divorce attorney.
#1 Pay Down Debt
Try to work on paying down any debt that you and your spouse have together. Debt complicates your divorce; before you can divide your assets you will have to determine how you two will divide your debt. You can help cut down this conversation by working to pay down your debt before you two start going through the formal divorce process.
#2 Create Your Own Savings
If you do not have your own savings account, you should start one. You are going to need to have money to pay your lawyer with; they don't work for free. This is especially important if your spouse does not support your efforts to divorce, or cuts off your access to mutual money. This will ensure that you have the money to move forward with your plans.
#3 Gather Up Financial Information
Start gathering up and making copies of all important financial documents. It will be easier to do this when you and your spouse are still together, before the paperwork is scattered across two homes. It will also cut down on your attorney costs if you are able to bring in all relevant financial paperwork with you to your first meeting.
You will need copies of your last couple years' of tax returns, pay stubs for both you and your spouse, and copies of all your bank statements, savings accounts, saving bonds and certificates, retirement accounts, investments, vehicles, and properties. You need paper evidence of everything you own together that could be considered an asset.
#4 Set Up A Divorce Notebook & Calendar
Finally, purchase a calendar or datebook and a notebook specifically to keep track of all things related to your divorce. Divorce creates a lot of deadlines and paperwork; being proactive will help you keep this information organized from the start.
You can use the divorce calendar to keep track of all important deadlines and meetings with your lawyer and with the courts. You can also use it to keep track of when your spouse meets or violates certain divorce agreements and court orders. If you have children, you'll want to keep track of every visitation made or missed, as well as all appointments related to your children and who was present for each of them.
Use the notebook to keep track of all the paperwork that you are going to get from your attorney and from the court system. Keep everything in chronological order.
Even if you have not started the formal divorce process yet, getting these things ready will help your divorce go more smoothly. Once you have completed these steps, look for a law firm that specializes in divorces, such as McKissick & McKissick.