Divorce is an emotional journey, but you cannot neglect the practical details. You must know how to prepare for divorce if you want to get the best results and the fairest treatment. This means you stand to benefit if you’re organized and prepared to answer any questions the judge will ask you. A judge will have to approve the division of assets and any support agreements, even if your divorce is uncontested. Failure to prepare could cause delays.
There’s a lot of paperwork involved in getting a divorce, but none of it is very complicated. You’ll need to provide a dissolution of marriage form, several financial documents, legal documents, a parenting agreement, and other items. Scrambling to get everything together at the last minute can cost you both time and money.
This checklist will help you gather everything you need and keep organized so you can get through an emotional process as simple as possible.
Get Organized to Prepare for Divorce
It’s all about the details when it comes to the settlement agreement you’ll be submitting to the court. This includes financial disclosures, a plan for dividing assets, details about family members, what you own, what you spend, and tax returns.
This is a lot of information that can take significant work to gather, so organization is key. It’s worthwhile, though, because it will save you some time and stress, as well as some legal fees.
Information You’ll Need to Prepare for Divorce: a Checklist
Staying organized means developing a checklist so you can strike off items as you complete them. Set up a system both physically and on your computer in folders to include all needed documentation, official correspondence, court records, and research to help avoid any confusion.
Sticking to the following checklist and gathering the following documents will help you get organized for your uncontested divorce:
Bill of Complaint
The Bill of Complaint is the form that begins the divorce action, and it has three parts. The first contains family details, the second states the grounds for divorce, and the third contains information on what each party is asking for in the divorce, including spousal and child support.
Waiver of Notice
By filling out the Waiver of Notice, you can speed up the divorce process, because it essentially certifies that your spouse agrees with the Bill of Complaint. This means that only the final divorce decree will be served.
Property Settlement Agreement
This agreement includes all information about how you and your spouse will divide and distribute any shared property, such as bank accounts, homes, vehicles, investments, and any other assets obtained during the marriage. The Property Settlement Agreement should also include a plan to distribute debt fairly.
Hearing Request Form or Request to Have Divorce Heard by Affidavit
You can have a hearing in front of a judge, or you can choose to have your divorce heard by affidavit, meaning you won’t have to appear in front of the judge. The process to file for divorce by affidavit means you must also have a witness who will be required to fill out paperwork as well.
If you have minor children, you and your spouse will have to establish a plan to handle their needs after divorce. This means agreeing on custody details and how you will ensure the children’s needs are met. You might also want to incorporate provisions for handling holidays and activities such as sports and dance classes.
Child Support Plan
Virginia law says both parents share the obligation to support their children. Child support payments are based on their combined income, with each spouse paying a percentage. This handy calculator can help determine a fair amount for each spouse. The judge will approve the final plan and then issue an order.
Getting organized and preparing all this information helps your attorney by giving them an overview of the issues surrounding your divorce. The two of you will be better able to work together efficiently to save both time and money while watching out for your interests.
Precautions to Take When Preparing for Divorce
Things can get messy, even in an uncontested divorce. The emotions involved can cause people to do unexpected things that you might not have considered. It’s best to take a few simple steps to protect yourself:
- Open checking and savings accounts in your name only.
- Open a credit card, again in your name alone.
- Order a free credit report and examine it. Think about signing up for a credit monitoring service as well that will notify you if your spouse tries to open credit cards in both your names and rack up debt before the divorce is final.
- Make a list of valuable items you brought into the marriage, along with their values. This list also could include any family heirlooms.
A divorce attorney can help get you prepared and check off all the boxes. Even those who opt to go it alone, though, will find that organization is crucial. Take this checklist and make it your own, and you’ll be well on the way toward a speedy, amicable divorce.
Contact the Go-To Team for Uncontested Divorce in Virginia
Partnering with an experienced legal advisor is an essential step for getting the fastest, easiest uncontested divorce. The Law Office of Michael Ephraim can guide you through the process to be sure you’ve included everything that will help you get the fairest outcome.
We’ve helped our clients through thousands of divorces, so if you’re ready to end your marriage, contact the Law Office of Michael Ephraim to make the process as painless as possible.