Getting Organized for Divorce

If you and your spouse are considering divorce in 2014, getting organized now can help save time and stress in the event you make the decision to file, or your spouse files first. How do you prepare for the divorce process in New Jersey? Here are 5 key questions to make sure you know the answers to:

Have you established personal bank accounts and credit cards in your name only?
Because joint accounts may be frozen, establishing personal bank accounts and credit cards can be important ways to ensure cash flow once the divorce process begins. If you establish a personal account, it’s best to use money to start it that comes from your paycheck or other separate (not marital) financial resources in order to avoid confusion or conflict. Establishing credit in your own name can help with post-divorce finances. For more tips, see our blog: “Dealing With Money When You Decide to Separate.”

Do you know where you are going to live?
If you have decided to move out of the family home, have you rented an apartment or secured other housing? See our blog, “Deciding to Move Out,” for more on the specifics of setting up a separate residence.

How will your divorce affect your children’s everyday lives?
Who will your children live with? What kind of parenting time/custody plan is best for them? What about child support? In NJ, custody plans and child support can be put in place at the time parents separate as temporary orders, with final orders put in place at the time of the actual divorce settlement. If you haven’t done so already, start learning more about the process for establishing NJ child custody and NJ child support.

Do you the specifics of how to actually file a NJ Complaint for Divorce, and what financial information will be needed to complete divorce paperwork? For more on how to file for divorce, see our, “NJ Divorce Road Map” To understand what paperwork to start collecting, see our handy financial information checklist.

Have you created a budget for yourself?
Figure out how much it will cost to cover your living expenses. Do you have enough coming in yourself to cover these costs? Will you need spousal support or be required to pay it? When you separate, the spouse in need of support can file for temporary (pendente lite) alimony is available in New Jersey.

How else can you prepare? For more tips, please see:
Preparing to Meet With Your Divorce Attorney
Staying Organized During Divorce
Don’t Let Divorce Ruin Your Finances