Eric S. Neumann, APLC
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Some steps to take when preparing for divorce

Ending a marriage is a big step involving law, emotions and finances. Louisiana spouses may want to consider the following steps to prepare before jumping into divorce and filing the first legal paper.

First, spouses need to consider whether they want to attend counseling sessions. If nothing else, this will help parties communicate later during negotiations and prepare them for separation.

Remembering important details may be difficult during legal proceedings and meeting with attorneys. This is a good time to journal important events and conversations such as arguments, child care or inappropriate behavior. These notes can be used later to help draft motions and prepare testimony.

Knowing the couple's financial assets is important because both spouses must file a statement of net worth and account for all their assets and accounts after they file for divorce. First, don't sign anything without reading it first. A spouse should look over bank statements, document account numbers and review tax returns.

Judges ruling on alimony usually review the couple's budget during the last year of marriage. Accordingly, spouses who anticipate receiving alimony should continue their lifestyle and avoid cutting back on spending if they can.

Because most couples have joint accounts, this may be a good time to open an individual credit card account. This gives a spouse access to money if they are ever financially cut off and is the beginning of building a credit history which may be needed for loans and financing. Saving cash for a rainy day may also be helpful.

In this social media age, spouses need to have a plan on how this news will be shared. They must decide how much information will be published and whether close friends and relatives should learn about the breakup of their marriage in a more personal manner. Discussing this matter with shared friends, in-laws and especially the children requires special planning.

Finally, a divorcing spouse should also consider how they want to behave and perceived by others. Planning, emotional control and biting your tongue are part of this process. Perceiving a new household and social life are also important. Discussing divorce with an experienced attorney can also be helpful. An attorney can ensure that a spouse is aware of their options and pursue their rights for support and child custody.

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