Preparing for divorce in Columbus, Ohio involves a number of different steps. Regardless of whether you are anticipating a contested or an uncontested divorce, it is important to be sure that you have all the documentation you will need for your divorce case, and that you have considered the variety of legal and financial issues that may arise. As you get ready to file for divorce in Ohio or to move forward with a divorce more generally, you should consider the following steps.
1. Gather Financial Documentation
Under Ohio law, divorce involves the equitable distribution of marital property. As such, the court will need to have a clear picture of all the property owned by the spouses in order to classify that property as separate (or non-marital) property and as marital property. Only marital property is divided, and each spouse keeps his or her separate property. To ensure that all property is appropriately classified and distributed, and for the court to be able to weigh all relevant factors in determining what an equitable distribution of marital property looks like, it is essential to gather many types of financial documentation.
You will want to have copies of recent tax returns for you and your spouse, W-2s and 1099s for you and your spouse, investment and banking statements, receipts and appraisals for asset purchases, and any other related documents.
2. Make a Budget
Given that most people who get divorced go through a change from living in one household on two salaries to living in two separate households on individual salaries, it is important to make a budget before your divorce to ensure that you have what you need to cover the cost of bills and any extracurricular activities for your children and yourself. Making a budget and sticking to it as soon as possible can help to make life after divorce easier.
3. Open Your Own Accounts
Many married couples share checking accounts, credit cards, and other accounts. As you prepare for your divorce, you should open your own separate accounts and should begin using those, as should your spouse.
4. Change Your Beneficiaries
When you are planning for divorce, you should also be thinking about changing beneficiaries on insurance policies and in your estate planning documents. In some cases, if you do not make these changes and something unexpected happens to you, your spouse ultimately could still be the named beneficiary and could inherit assets after your death.
5. Hire an Experienced Columbus Divorce Lawyer
No matter what your divorce circumstances are, you should have an experienced Columbus divorce attorney on your side. Even if you are anticipating a relatively amicable, uncontested divorce, it is still critical to have an advocate who will put your needs first throughout the proceedings.
Contact a Divorce Attorney in Columbus
If you have questions about preparing for divorce or any concerns about the documentation you will need for your divorce case, one of our Columbus divorce lawyers can assist you. Contact the Lawrence Law Office to learn more about how we can help with your Ohio divorce.