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10 Steps to Consider Before Asking for a Divorce


Published on September 4th, 2020

The path leading to the decision to get divorced is often so stressful and tumultuous, that once there, many people are eager to begin proceedings to finally move forward. However, hastily pursuing a divorce may leave you unprepared for the times ahead. Taking several actionable steps prior to asking for a divorce can help streamline the process and hopefully, make it less adversarial for everyone involved.

Even when you and your spouse are on the same page about wanting to keep things as amicable as possible, divorce proceedings can be very difficult and emotionally taxing. Child-related disputes, and financial and property disagreements, can exacerbate this process and lead to potentially long-term consequences. Dissolving a marriage involves many important legal steps and because of that you will want to be as prepared as possible to lay a solid foundation for your divorce – before you ask for one.

Steps to Prepare You for A Divorce

Though each situation comes with unique challenges, these 10 comprehensive steps should be considered if you are certain you are ready to proceed with a divorce.

1. Consult an Expert Divorce and Family Law Attorney at Davis Friedman, LLP

Even if you think your divorce will be amicable, it is best to meet with an experienced divorce lawyer at Davis Friedman, LLP first. Often, divorcing spouses are not aware of the ramifications that certain actions have on a divorce case, and your Davis Friedman attorney will help you understand your legal rights. For example, moving out of the marital home or transferring large sums of money out of shared bank accounts may negatively impact your case. Consulting an experienced divorce lawyer at Davis Friedman, LLP from the onset will allow him or her to advise you on the best course of action for your particular situation.

2. Prioritize Your Children’s Best Interests

If you have children that will be the subject of any final agreements or potential court orders, it is vital to prioritize their best interests, especially in these initial stages. For example, if possible, you and your spouse should attempt to calmly and productively discuss when and how to tell the children in the event that a divorce is being sought. You share the joint responsibility of providing the best life possible for your children and ensuring the welfare of their emotional, physical, and psychological development.

3. Analyze Your Situation Realistically

Take a realistic look at your current situation for a high-level overview of the potential obstacles you may face during your divorce. Begin by examining the following:

  • You and your spouse’s current living situation;
  • If you have children, how the immediate/long-term impact of the divorce will affect them;
  • Your spouse’s knowledge or ignorance of an impending divorce;
  • Your sources for financial independence, if any; and
  • Your position in the household as either the sole financial provider, a financial co-provider, and/or the primary caretaker for your children.

4. Inventory all Marital and Non-Marital Property

Create a spreadsheet and inventory all marital and non-marital property to aid in the division and valuation of your assets. This includes all property (real estate, furniture, artwork, jewelry, vehicles, etc.), retirement and pension plans, mortgages, bank accounts, credit cards, and debts whether it is titled in your name alone, in your spouse’s name alone, or in your joint names. After all property has been identified in your divorce, it will be categorized into either marital (for the most part, with some exceptions, “property” acquired during the marriage) or non-marital property.

5. Assess the Financial State of Your Household

To develop an understanding of your post-divorce financial budget, it’s important to know where your current household stands from a spending perspective. To do this you need an accurate view of your income and spending habits. Track your monthly expenses such as utilities, mortgage, and other household debts and expenditures. The transition from a single household’s income into two separate households can cause economic concerns. You may need to consider ways that you will accommodate for minor to major adjustments once your divorce is finalized.

6. Prepare Yourself Financially

Examine your individual financial position prior to a divorce. If you have never established your own credit history, consider applying for a credit card in your own name. You can use this card to charge and immediately pay off monthly expenses to quickly build credit while avoiding interest fees. Save what you can now, while you can, as a divorce may be costly and can seriously impact money that has been set aside in savings or for other purposes.

7. Consider Your Earning Potential

If you have been out of the workforce during the course of your marriage for any reason, it might be beneficial to evaluate your employability – whether or not you believe you are entitled to seek spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony). Regardless, should you need to engage their services, a knowledgeable divorce attorney at Davis Friedman will guide negotiations or litigation of any maintenance obligation or receipt of maintenance in your divorce agreement, if applicable.

8. Build a Support Network

Do not overlook the importance of surrounding yourself with people who can help you through this difficult time. The emotional toll of a divorce can often be hard-hitting and building a strong support network for you and your family will encourage emotional stability, allowing you to move forward with clearer intentions.

9. Decide How You Will Inform Your Spouse

Unless the decision to proceed with filing is a purely mutual and coordinated effort, you will eventually need to inform your spouse of your decision to pursue a divorce. How you choose to handle this will likely depend on your current relationship with them. For example, if the decision to proceed was finally yours but generally expected, an open conversation might be the simplest approach. However, if you feel that your spouse might have a difficult time receiving the news, consider discussing it in the presence of a marriage counselor, a close family member or friend, or via another qualified professional.

If you are fearful for your safety in any way, do not place yourself in a vulnerable position. A knowledgeable divorce attorney at Davis Friedman can discuss in more detail how the initial divorce petition and accompanying papers can be served on your behalf, if necessary.

10. Learn More About the Divorce Process

It has been said that knowledge is half the battle. In general though, becoming more informed in advance of embarking upon a new process can help to lessen anxiety. Click the links below if you would like more information on the following:

You can also view our website for additional topics.

During a divorce, remember that what is in your best interest might not be what is in the best interest of your spouse. It is crucial to carefully arrange for approaching a divorce to protect yourself and your rights and a top-rated attorney at Davis Friedman can provide expert counsel on how best to prepare for your possible or impending divorce matter.

Contact our experienced family law firm today to discuss your options.

Have questions? Contact us about working together.

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