Making the decision to get a divorce is rarely an easy one—but it is sometimes the best option for couples who have problems that cannot be resolved or who simply are no longer clicking together in a healthy, loving way. While getting a divorce isn’t easy, it doesn’t have to be difficult; consider the following essentials on what you need to know on how to get a divorce.
Be wary of divorce advice
Once you tell people—friends, family or otherwise—that you are getting a divorce, be prepared for an avalanche of divorce advice. While the advice is almost always well meaning, be sure to take everything with a grain of salt. People often forget how personal divorce can be, and they may end up trying to apply advice to a situation where it may not help or apply—such as advising you to “work your problems out” when you and your partner have spent the last year doing just that. You don’t have to discount divorce advice entirely, but make sure to keep it at arm’s length.
It can get very, very expensive
Most people do not realize that getting a divorce is a very expensive process. A standard divorce proceeding can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 due to the high price of court proceedings and the high fees charged by divorce attorneys. If the divorce is not amicable, you will usually have to hire a divorce lawyer to help you—if the divorce is (thankfully) amicable, you may be able to used a trained divorce mediator, which will be much more affordable.
Once you have decided to get a divorce, start setting aside money right away. You will probably need it!
Make a list of every single shared account and act fast
When most people want to know how to get divorced, they focus on the custody of children, who gets the home, and splitting up property; something which many people forget about are shared accounts, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, beneficiary trusts, and so on.
Once you have decided on getting a divorce, make a list of every single shared account that you and your partner have together. You will need to close all of these accounts as soon as possible and, in cases where the money is yours, consider legal action to block your soon-to-be-ex spouse from accessing them before they have time to take the money out. There have been countless divorce cases where an angry spouse drains savings and checking accounts, leaving their former partner without a penny to their name—and no legal recourse.
The laws regarding shared bank accounts may vary from state to state. Depending on your state’s laws, you may be legally required to prove what money in a shared account came from your income before you can withdraw it—while other states consider all money in shared accounts to be ‘fair game’ for either partner in the marriage.