What Should I Do Before I File For Divorce?

Filing for divorce isn’t typically a spur-of-the-moment decision.  This is usually something a spouse has contemplated for months, if not years.  There are a few things you can do prior to filing for divorce that can help protect you, protect your interests, and ensure that you’re avoiding future problems that can cost you a lot of time and money.  Because every case is different, it’s best for you to speak with an experienced divorce attorney at the early onset of your case to help you tailor a plan that’s right for you. 

Custody and Parent-Time

New Utah laws regarding custody and parent-time favor giving both parents joint physical custody of the children wherever possible.  Research shows that children do better mentally, socially, academically, and even physically if they have both parents actively involved in their lives, so the current trend is for courts to provide for each parent’s active involvement.  There are some things you can do to ensure your case is properly set up for the court to award you as much time as possible with your children.  

  1. Have a history of being actively involved in your children’s lives.  Be involved in the morning routine: getting the children breakfast, helping them get ready, and ensuring they get to school on time.  Be involved in the bedtime routine: encouraging teeth brushing, having storytime, tucking them into bed.  Attend school events like parent-teacher conferences, and help the children complete their homework.  Go to extracurricular activities, be the assistant coach or the team manager, throw team parties.  Go to medical appointments, dentist visits, and well-child checkups.  Take the children on outings, help them build bonds with extended family, and take part in their interests and hobbies.  Build a bond with them. 
  2. Adjust your work schedule, if necessary.  However good of a parent you might be, a graveyard or swing shift is a concern for any court deciding what kind of custody to give you.  Inconsistent work schedules or frequently being on-call can also be a challenge.  Try to get a work schedule that is consistent and that places the majority of your working hours at the same time the children are at school.  Flexibility in a work schedule can also be a significant benefit, where your employer will accommodate children’s emergencies, extracurricular activities scheduled in the middle of the day, etc.  
  3. Plan out your living situation.  When a court grants both parents joint physical custody, it wants parents to live somewhat close to each other.  Where are you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse going to live?  Consider not only where you’re going to live, but how your residence fits the practical needs of your children.  If you can find a residence within the same boundaries as your children’s school, that’s a huge advantage.  Will the children have their own bedrooms?  Courts are typically okay with children sharing bedrooms, but not if children are different genders.  
  4. Have a history of solving problems with your spouse.  The court doesn’t want to see that you win every argument you have with your spouse, it wants to see that you have the ability to work out problems with them.  If you can solve problems regarding the children without becoming hostile, name-calling, or being unreasonable, the court is more likely to trust you with more custodial responsibility.  

Property 

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to hear complaints of spouses removing property out of the home, hiding assets, and emptying bank accounts.  Before you file for divorce, you should document a few things.  Get a year or more’s worth of bank statements from each financial account you and your spouse have, including retirement accounts.  Document all personal property in the home.  You can do this by walking through the home and taking a video of all the property in it.  In general, gather evidence (documentation) that verifies the assets you have, their value, and the condition they’re in.  

Other Evidence That May Be Helpful

It’s not uncommon for a party to be served with divorce papers and then try to purge any evidence that may be damning for them, including deleting text messages, social media accounts, social media posts, pictures, etc.  If you can lawfully obtain some of these things before filing for divorce, you should do so because obtaining them through legal proceedings after filing for divorce can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly.  

Call Red Law Today

You want your divorce to be as smooth as possible and with the best possible outcome. We work aggressively to make that happen. Take some worry off of your shoulders, and schedule a consultation with us.

 

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