How to Prepare for Divorce

When a marriage is breaking down and it becomes obvious that divorce may be approaching, it can be scary for everyone involved. However, there are several things that spouses can do to prepare for divorce if they know that they are likely headed in that direction. It is never a bad idea to prepare ahead of time so that the divorce process runs as smoothly as possible.

Basic Divorce Requirements

The first part of starting the divorce process is determining whether you meet the state residency requirement. To file for divorce in Mississippi, you must be a Mississippi resident for at least six months at the time of filing. Most people satisfy this condition easily, but if you have not lived in Mississippi for at least six months, you may need to wait until that six-month period has passed. Residency may be proved in many ways including but not limited to filing for a homestead exemption, registering to vote, purchasing an instate drivers’ license, and so on. 

You will also need to determine if your spouse is willing to agree to a divorce. If your spouse is willing to agree to a divorce, you can file for irreconcilable differences divorce. This is a type of divorce that is based on the agreement and consent of both parties. If your spouse does not agree to a divorce, you will need to file for divorce on fault grounds, which simply means that the “innocent” spouse is alleging some wrongdoing by the “at-fault” spouse as a ground for divorce. Divorce grounds include things like adultery, habitual cruel and inhuman treatment, incarceration, and habitual drunkenness or drug use, among other things. 

Gather Documents, Protect Assets, and Stay Out of Trouble

An important part of preparing for divorce is gathering the proper documents and records. Divorce affects a person’s finances, their children, their home and other property, their relationships, their new identification for social security, bank accounts, credit cards, and almost every other area of a person’s life. Divorce will be a much easier process if both parties are prepared to provide all of the necessary documentation. Because divorce seriously affects a person’s finances, a couple seeking divorce will need to present almost all of their financial documents. This can include things bank statements, credit card statements, leases, loan documents, contracts, water and electric bills, income tax returns, proof of current income, pay stubs, certificates of deposit, pension documents, trusts, stock portfolios, mortgages, and any home, auto, health, dental, or life insurance policies. If you file for divorce, you will be required to produce all of these documents at some point, so it is helpful to gather as many of these documents as you can and keep them in one place. If there are certain documents that you do not have, you should do your best to obtain a copy of them as soon as possible. Copies should also be made and kept in secure places. 

If possible, do not sell or buy any large assets (like cars, motorcycles, houses, boats, etc.) until your divorce is finalized. Buying or selling these types of large assets during the early stages of divorce may be seen by the court as an attempt to trick your spouse or hide information from them, which will not be favorable to your case. It is also very important to refrain from doing anything that your spouse could use against you, such as adultery/cheating, heavy drinking, or gambling. If you have recently been involved in this type of activity, it is in your best interest to refrain until the divorce is over. Part of planning for divorce is making sure that the court sees you as stable and trustworthy.  

Choose an Attorney

Contact a qualified divorce attorney early in the process so that the attorney can help with your pre-divorce planning. Your attorney will be able to tell you which documents you need to gather, how to protect your assets during the process, and how to ensure that the court sees you as stable and trustworthy. 

Arguably the most important part of starting the divorce process is finding the right divorce attorney. If you have been searching the Mississippi area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Mississippi Lawyers. Over the years, we have helped numerous families pursue favorable outcomes. Although facing divorce is not a pleasant experience, there are many potential strategies that can be used to protect assets and provide for family members in the event of divorce. Call us today at (601) 948-4444 for your free consultation to learn more.  

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