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Preparing for Divorce

Law Office of Joshua S. Reed June 7, 2023

In 1799 Tennessee, a divorce could only be sought on the grounds of impotence and inability to procreate, bigamy, adultery, and willful desertion for two years or longer. Since then, the laws have changed. Now, no-fault and fault divorces are provided for under the law, and beyond that, we know what steps someone should take to prepare for divorce. Preparation is emotional, financial, and practical. Taking the time to do it properly may help make the legal process and your transition to the next chapter in your life go more smoothly.  

Our team at the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed is dedicated to helping our clients prepare for divorce and what comes after it. We understand the significance of this shift, and we will do what we can to help you make it. So, if you are considering divorce or your spouse has served you in Knoxville or Farragut, Tennessee, give us a call to schedule a consultation. We also serve those in the surrounding areas of Oak Ridge County, Union County, Loudon County, Clinton County, Maryville County,  Blount County, and Anderson County.   

What Should I Consider Before Filing for Divorce?

If you are thinking about ending your marriage, there are three things you should consider before filing for divorce. These issues, in particular, will affect you sooner rather than later.  

First, make sure you have done everything you can to prepare emotionally and be sure in your decision. This can include seeking counseling with your spouse’s agreement. Even if you participate in counseling and still don’t think the marriage is salvageable, the therapy may put both of you in a more amiable frame of mind. That will help as you forge the agreements required for divorce.  

You should also think about the type of divorce you will seek. Will it be contested or uncontested? Will the grounds be no-fault or fault-based? Will you pursue a collaborative divorce or mediation to tackle those issues you and your spouse cannot agree on? Gauge these issues by your current relationship with your spouse and their mindset regarding the divorce. Doing so will let you know if you are preparing for compromise or battle.  

Finally, consider the implications of living arrangements during and after divorce. Will you be able to continue living together while the process is ongoing, or will someone need to move out? If you will continue to reside together, you may need to establish some ground rules. If someone is moving out, it could create financial strain. You also need to look beyond to where you might live once the divorce is final. Keeping the home is not always an option, and whether you have minor children or not will have a significant impact on these decisions.  

What Are Some Steps to Take When Preparing for Divorce?

There are many steps to take when getting divorced, but some are more crucial than others. To avoid any missteps and to make the process go more smoothly, your first best step is to hire an experienced divorce attorney in Tennessee. Not only will our team educate you about the process, but we will also negotiate on your behalf, serve as a buffer should conversations become heated, and protect your interests every step of the way.  

Other key steps you should take to prepare for divorce include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Secure your assets and accounts to protect them during the divorce process. You should make copies of important documents, including all financial records and income tax returns. If you have joint accounts, such as bank accounts, monitor and document deposits and withdrawals to ensure your spouse is not emptying your marital accounts which are subject to equitable property division. If you have joint credit cards, cancel them, and apply for one in only your name. Also, change all passwords you have to access personal equipment and accounts, such as access to your smartphone, laptop, and social media platforms.  

  • The divorce petition will require documentation of residency, certification of your marriage, children’s birth certificates, proof of employment, and more. Make copies of these documents for yourself.  

  • Inventory your separate and marital assets and debts and their values. Although the separate property is not subject to division with your spouse, it can be considered in the judge’s decision regarding the equitable division of property. You should do this for your separate property as well as your spouse’s. Inventorying and valuing marital assets will also help ensure that assets are not concealed or liquidated during the divorce process.  

  • Create a financial picture for life after divorce. What assets are you likely to receive and what debts might you be responsible for? How will you support yourself once the divorce is final? Will you want to request spousal support or is it likely you will need to pay it? 

  • Gather all legal documents, such as property deeds, vehicle titles, appraisals, insurance policies, retirement account statements, business and partnership agreements, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and other estate planning documents.  

Gathering all this information can be tedious. Just keep in mind that you are about to split everything between you. This process will help you understand precisely what there is to divide.  

An Attorney Can Help You Move Forward

Marriage requires a great deal of work. So does divorce. Because you are beginning a new chapter in your life, separate from your spouse, you will need your equitable share to open it. Our team will help make sure you do. As your family law attorneys, we have only your best interests to protect.  

If you are even considering divorce, learn how to best prepare for it. Call the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed in Knoxville, Tennessee now to schedule a time to talk.