Are you planning on filing for
after the holidays? If so, you have plenty of company. Historically, January
is the busiest month for divorce filings across the nation. In contrast,
December is the time of year when many (but not all) couples hold off
on filing for divorce so they can get through the holidays without dampening
the “holiday cheer” or having to handle court documents while
entertaining friends and family.
If you’re going to file for divorce after January 1st, it will help
if you start preparing in the month of December. This way, once you do
start the divorce process, you’ll have a lot of the legwork out
of the way. Here are four
tips to help get the ball rolling before the New Year:
1. Run your credit report. Contact the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and
request a free copy of your credit report. Examine these printouts to
see which accounts are open, how much you owe, and which accounts are
“joint.” You will need this information when deciding how
to divide debts. You also need to know which accounts are joint so you
can put the accounts in one spouse’s name alone, or pay them off
and close them. The goal is to cut the financial ties to your spouse so
you can get a fresh start.
2. Copy all of the financial documents. As a part of the divorce, you’ll need to gather and make copies of
all important financial documents. This includes credit card statements,
medical bills, auto loans, insurance policies, mortgage papers, investments,
retirement accounts, and of course tax returns.
3. Educate yourself on Pennsylvania’s divorce laws. Knowledge is power and divorce is no exception. During the month of December,
take this time to research Pennsylvania’s divorce laws as they pertain to
asset and debt division, spousal support, child support and
child custody. We also recommend researching the difference between fault and
no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania.
4. Create a post-divorce budget. The more prepared you are for divorce, the better. One way to prepare yourself
is to create a post-divorce budget. Take into consideration housing, utilities,
health insurance, your auto loan (where applicable), auto insurance, food,
credit card bills, student loans, etc. Also, take child support and spousal
support into consideration. As far as child support is concerned, will
you be receiving or paying it? If so, how much? To learn more about calculating
child support in Pennsylvania,
click here. Unlike child support, spousal support is not guaranteed, but be sure to
ask your divorce lawyer if spousal support will be a factor in your divorce.
Searching for a divorce attorney in Pennsylvania? To learn about our
cheap divorce services,
contact our firm today!