Preparing for Divorce
Preparing for divorce is never easy. Emotions, personal feelings, attachment to possessions, and the issues of spousal and/or child support and custody can be challenges when agreeing on how to proceed to avoid a court battle. Therefore, if you sense that divorce is on the horizon, or if you’ve already been served papers, you must take steps to prepare for what lies ahead.
If you’re facing divorce in or around Lincoln, Nebraska, contact the family law attorneys at Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O. immediately for reliable legal assistance. We will work with you on resolving the issues of division of assets, child custody and support, alimony or spousal support, and parenting rights. Your goal is to move forward, and we are here to help you reach that goal. We proudly serve clients throughout Nebraska, including Lancaster County, Gage County, Saline County, Seward County, Otoe County, Cass County, and Saunders County.
Nebraska, like many other states, recognizes a no-fault divorce, which means that the only requirements for a divorce is to state that it is “irretrievably broken” and to make sure you meet the residency requirements. However, even with these minimal conditions, this doesn’t mean your path to marriage dissolution will be easy. There are many things to consider first.
It’s not a good idea to rush into a divorce without considering major concerns. Some of these questions stem from the following questions:
What are the costs of the divorce? This includes financial costs, but it can also include emotional and practical costs.
Is a contested or uncontested divorce right for me? This will be affected by whether you and your spouse are able to agree on major issues. Your best option, though it may pose a personal challenge, is to strive for an uncontested divorce, which means you avoid the courtroom drama that pits the two of you against one another. A contested divorce not only runs up the attorneys’ fees but also exacerbates the feelings and emotional wounds that led to the decision to dissolve the marriage in the first place.
Is mediation a good option for us? If you and your spouse can’t agree on a marital settlement pact, you can submit to mediation, where an independent mediator will listen to each spouse’s side of the story and desires for the future and propose a settlement plan.
Do I need to contact an attorney? Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, an attorney’s legal guidance and advocacy is important. Your attorney can help you pursue all your options in reaching a divorce settlement, so make sure you don’t face this alone.
Before anything, consult with a family law attorney. Your attorney can discuss your situation with you and advise you of what’s in store. They will help you know what you need to do to secure a suitable path to the future outside of marriage.
Among consulting with an attorney, here are some of your next steps:
If you have a joint bank account, you’ll want to set up your own account, so your spouse cannot drain the funds. Change your passwords to any financial resources you have online, including retirement accounts and even social media accounts. Maintain your privacy and exclusive access.
You want to assemble and review all documents that will figure into your divorce. These can include insurance policies, banking statements, mortgage or lease papers, retirement account statements, credit card and other debt statements, income and tax information (including W-2s and tax filings), titles to cars, and anything else that will figure into a division of assets.
In a divorce, there are two types of assets: marital and non-marital assets.
A personal or non-marital asset is anything either spouse owned before marriage. For instance, one spouse may have had a rental property somewhere, which would remain that person’s separate property even after marriage. Of course, that asset could become commingled under the law, but your attorney can help you determine that.
The other type of asset is called marital property, which includes everything acquired during the marriage in either spouse’s name. This includes any money accumulated in a retirement account during the period of marriage.
You’ll need to know what separate and marital property is and be prepared to divide everything equitably. Even if you submit a marital settlement agreement to the court, if the division of property heavily favors one spouse over the other, it will not be approved.
This can be a big challenge. You and your spouse will need to have a living arrangement going forward since you likely won’t be staying together any longer if one of you hasn’t already moved out. Who gets to stay in the current house, or will it be sold if you own it jointly?
What about the children? Who gets custody, or will it be joint custody? What about parenting time if one spouse gets primary custody? Also, there are the issues of child or spousal support. These are decisive areas that often unleash a lot of sensitive and raw emotions.
Divorce can be a complicated process. Don’t confront it by yourself; instead, seek the advice and counsel of a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney. Our compassionate family law attorneys serve those in Lincoln, Nebraska and the surrounding areas to help families know their options. Our goal is to help you map out a plan to resolve concerns to move forward after divorce. Rely on the experience and resources of our family law attorneys at Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O. today. Reach out for dependable legal assistance.