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Preparing for Divorce

Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law Dec. 14, 2023

Wife taking off the wedding ring after argument with husbandAs an experienced Tennessee divorce attorney, I understand just how overwhelming this legal process can feel. But, believe me, there are ways to make it easier. Today, I'm going to share with you some essential steps that can help simplify the road ahead. 

Steps to Take to Prepare for the Divorce Process

Meet With a Lawyer

First, you will need to consult with a seasoned divorce attorney. As a divorce lawyer myself, you may think I'm biased, but trust me, this step is non-negotiable. No matter how straightforward your situation might seem to be, at least discussing your situation with a legal professional can validate that you are on the right track. Plus, it can help you identify any potential red flags or issues that might arise during the process. They can also help you understand the divorce laws specific to Tennessee, explain the different options available to you, and provide invaluable advice on how to secure a favorable outcome. 

Getting Organized

The next couple of steps are all about organization. You should make copies of important documents, cancel joint accounts, change personal passwords, and start keeping track of all communication with your spouse. It's also crucial to gather all the necessary documents and information related to your marriage. This includes but isn't limited to marriage certificates, financial records, property deeds, bank statements, and tax returns. You should also take inventory of assets and liabilities, including property, bank accounts, investments, loans, credit cards, etc.  

You'll also need to gather personal information. This should be info on you and your spouse including things such as proof of residency, employment information, and any other relevant details.  

Organizing these can feel tedious, no doubt, but having them readily available will help you have a clear understanding of your financial situation and the potential division of assets during the divorce process, which will save you a considerable amount of time and effort during the divorce proceedings.  

Assess Your Financial Situation

Divorce can have a significant impact on your finances, so it's essential to start thinking about your post-divorce budget and what you'll need to maintain a comfortable standard of living for yourself and any dependents. By this stage, you should have all your personal and financial information collected. So reference those as you assess what you may need support for after your divorce.  

You'll also need to understand how debt is currently divided between you and your spouse and how it might be divided in the future. Tennessee is not a community property state, so any assets and debts acquired during the marriage are generally divided equitably, but not necessarily equally. Identifying and understanding these financial implications will help you make informed decisions about your future and prepare for any potential negotiations or court proceedings. 

Take Care of Yourself

Now, let's talk about emotional well-being. Divorce is not just a legal process; it's an emotional journey as well. I strongly recommend seeking support from a therapist or counselor who can help you navigate through divorce-related issues. They can equip you with coping strategies, help you manage stress, and assist you in maintaining a positive mindset throughout the process. It's important to remember that it's okay to ask for help when you need it. 

Practice Effective Communication, but Proceed With Caution

Lastly, when communicating with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it's important to remain calm and respectful. Remember that divorce is a legal process, so any communication should be treated as such. Keep all correspondence professional and try to avoid getting into arguments or emotional discussions. Effective communication can help streamline the process and prevent further conflict. 

If you believe you'll be able to reach a mutual agreement on important matters such as child custody, property division, and spousal support, you should consider pursuing an uncontested divorce, where both parties work together to create a fair and mutually beneficial settlement. It's not always easy, but it can significantly simplify the process.  

Remember, a divorce attorney can guide you through the legal process and provide support whenever needed. With these essential steps in mind, you can feel more confident and prepared as you move forward with pursuing the divorce. Just take it one step at a time, and before you know it, you'll be on the path to a fresh start.  

Major Things to Consider Before Filing for Divorce

You may be ready to serve your spouse papers, but have you considered the following?: 

  1. First off, let's talk about marriage counseling. I can't stress enough how important this step can be. Sometimes, the issues that lead to considering divorce can be resolved or at least better understood through counseling. A trained professional provides a neutral space where both spouses can communicate, air their grievances, and work on resolving differences. It's a chance to gain new insights, learn helpful strategies, and possibly even save the marriage. So before you decide to file for divorce, you might want to give marriage counseling a shot. 

  1. Already tried marriage counseling? Or know it's not for you? Well, the next thing to think about is the type of divorce you want to pursue. You have a few options available: contested, uncontested/collaborative, or a mediated divorce. In a contested divorce, you, and your spouse can't agree on all aspects of the divorce, so a judge ends up making the decisions. An uncontested or collaborative divorce involves both spouses and their attorneys working together to reach an agreement that benefits everyone involved. Then there's divorce mediation, where a neutral mediator helps facilitate negotiations between the spouses. Understanding these different types of divorce and what they entail can help you make an informed decision that suits your situation best. 

  1. Lastly, take some time to think about your living situation. If you're planning to separate from your spouse, where will you live during and after the divorce process? If you have children, how will the divorce impact them, and what can you do to ensure their well-being and stability? You might need to arrange temporary housing, sort out financial support, and decide on custody arrangements. Planning ahead for these practical aspects can help reduce stress and ensure a smoother transition as you navigate through this challenging period. 

These are just a few considerations to bear in mind. Remember, every situation is unique and requires a tailored approach. As your attorney, I'm here to guide you through each step, answering your questions and providing the support you need. 

Address Your Concerns With a Seasoned Divorce Lawyer

Yes, preparing for divorce requires careful planning and consideration. And no, divorce is not an easy journey. But by taking these steps, you can make the legal process smoother for yourself and everyone involved. Also, seeking professional guidance and support won't only be helpful; it can be essential during this time. I'm here to guide you every step of the way. 

If you're looking for representation in Northeastern Tennessee, contact my firm, Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law. I have an office in Kingsport and serve clients throughout Church Hill, Johnson City, Bristol, and the surrounding areas.