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How to Prepare for Uncontested Divorce

Posted By Attorney Jim Cairns || 1-Mar-2013

Getting ready for an uncontested divorce in the state of Pennsylvania can seem daunting. Good preparation helps reduce the anxiety and stress you may experience during your uncontested divorce. To help relieve some of the overwhelming feelings that are associated with uncontested divorce, I have put together some help helpful hints.

Save, save, save. This is not the time to buy anything except the absolute necessities. Some couples are in denial, even though they truly are headed for an uncontested divorce, and will make large purchases. Soon to be divorced couples have done everything from splurging on remodeling their home to actually buying a new house.

A new home is not going to permanently keep at bay the issues which are dissolving your marriage. Be wise and build a nest egg to get you through at least a few months. Take into account that a large part of your income is probably coming from your spouse. You will have to find a way to pay your bills in the long term. Don't put yourself in a situation where you are signing a marital settlement agreement which you feel is unfair because you need money right away.

Create your own marital financial portrait. Calculate your assets and debts. If your spouse has been taking care of the finances, it's time for you to quickly learn. Ignorance now can cost you significantly later on.

Make copies of all your financial records and store them in a secure location outside your home. Information about your secure location should not be shared; lost or stolen information can be difficult to replace.

Start building a credit record in your own name and establish your own bank accounts. Get your name on your own personal accounts, i.e., car insurance, credit cards and checking account. Be sure to get your paychecks and all other income going through your account. If you are unemployed or earn substantially less then your spouse, getting approved for a credit card or higher limits may be easier before you start your uncontested divorce.

Make an inventory of all of your marital property. Men tend to often overlook this area because they feel that the time isn't worth the value. Once you start making a list you will realize you have more than you may have thought, especially when it comes to the electronics in the home.

Open up a personal post office box. This step will give you peace of mind. You will have a secure mailing address for your credit cards, bank statement and divorce documents to be sent.

Learn about your uncontested divorce lawyer before you hire him or her. Start with looking at their legal reviews on Avvo. Another place to see how your attorney is rated is with the Better Business Bureau. Also, know how your attorney will communicate with you directly. Will it be by the U.S. mail system or will you have immediate updates via email?

Back up important files. Make copies of all of your important documents and computer files. You may want to keep them at your parent's home, friend's house or a safety deposit box. Sometimes during an uncontested divorce items go missing, such as photos.

A parent should not leave the house unless it's a matter of safety. Before leaving, have a marital settlement agreement signed which includes your co-parenting plan. Your uncontested divorce attorney may have a free kit and support (take a look at their legal blogs for possible suggestions) to get you started on your marital settlement agreement.

Don't overlook the value of hiring a professional therapist before you start the uncontested divorce process. Having someone familiar with your case from the beginning will be of great benefit. Also, it's important to have a safe, nonjudgmental third party to process emotions as you embark on a life changing decision.