What to Do Before Filing for a Divorce

Deciding to get divorced is complicated enough on its own. On top of the emotional turmoil, so many practical things need to be sorted out, which can all feel overwhelming.

Where should one even start? The thought of tackling finances, lawyers, housing, and everything else makes anyone want to crawl back into bed.

But taking it step-by-step and getting organized can make this whole ordeal feel less hellish. Having a handle on the logistics helps regain control in an otherwise powerless situation. So, let's talk about the basics.

Lawyer Up

Do yourself a favor and call a divorce attorney as soon as possible. If things get contentious with your ex, you'll want someone, like the divorce lawyers at Burggraff Tash Levy PLC, who can aggressively litigate in court. You will also want someone who understands that compromising and settling often saves money and heartache in the long run.

Most importantly, speak openly with your lawyer before signing anything or making significant independent decisions. For example, abruptly moving out could relinquish rights to the family home. Well-meaning actions often have unintended consequences. Let your attorney chart the most strategic initial steps. The value of good counsel cannot be overstated during turbulent transitions.

Show Me the Money

A complete financial disclosure is needed - assets, debts, property, investments, the whole shebang. Make thorough lists if necessary, as memory can be faulty under significant stress. Dig up bank statements, tax returns, titles, and payroll documentation.

Gain clarity on everything that was financially shared when times were good. If estranged partners control the finances, wise estimation is critical.

Build Credit Independence

Obtain a solo credit card now to show the ability to handle large purchases independently if required post-divorce. Pay on time, and keep balances modest. Even though it may seem insignificant, this first step toward financial self-sufficiency is hugely empowering.

Over time, responsibly managing your credit card lays the groundwork for qualifying for significant future loans or credit lines on your own. Think of buying your place after all this is over!

The key is taking small steps to empower yourself financially in the long run. Don't abruptly close all joint accounts yet; that can hurt your credit temporarily. Be strategic as you map out your exit plan. The future is bright!

Crunch the Numbers

Figure out current spending and estimate the realistic costs of solo living after the split. Will career changes become necessary? Is a lifestyle downgrade inevitable? Understanding the complex numbers strengthens negotiation leverage later. Also, save every receipt moving forward; organization now prevents headaches later.

Freeze Shared Accounts

Contact banks and creditors to freeze joint credit cards and accounts so that more mutual debt isn't accumulated. Pay off whatever balances are affordable before closing them permanently. Get promises of zero account balances and cleanly closed accounts in writing. Protecting credit scores should be prioritized during tumultuous transitions.

Don't Move Out Yet

The urge to instantly flee the former home and spouse is understandable. However, prematurely relocating could weaken future housing claims should disputes arise. Talk to your attorney about options before taking action. As tricky as cohabitating feels, keeping one's eye on the long-term prize is essential.

Keep Your Halo On

Pursuing revenge or wild behavior may offer temporary relief during this challenging transitional period. However, such reflexive acts could negatively sway legal outcomes, especially if children are involved. Consider laying low among supportive friends, focusing energy inward through restorative hobbies, and documenting responsible personal choices. Kill them with kindness, as the saying goes.


There's no sugarcoating it; the logistical dimension of divorce is exhausting. The emotional toll compounds the overwhelming list of practical loose ends needing resolution. However, methodically taking back control step-by-step paves the way for a smoother road ahead. Each accomplished task builds the foundation for a better chapter. By hiring an attorney, they can help you through the divorce process.


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