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Important ways to prepare when pursuing a divorce

When a Texas couple decides to end their marriage, they could enter a time-consuming legal process. A divorce involves three stages: It begins with filing paperwork, moves on to discovery that primarily requires a disclosure of financial records and then concludes with disposition. Disposition might result from the parties negotiating the terms of their split through mediation or collaborative divorce, but it could require a court trial, where a judge makes final decisions. Organization, goal setting and a realistic evaluation of finances and the needs of children will benefit people entering this process.

The organization process involves gathering financial records about bank accounts, retirement plans and debts. At some point, joint bank accounts and credit cards will need to be closed, and both parties should get copies of their credit reports. People can choose new personal or financial goals for their lives during this time as well. An honest look at what post-divorce income will look like will help an ex-spouse determine how to move forward and hopefully avoid financial difficulties as a single earner.

For parents, the best interests of the children should be the primary driver of custody decisions. Joint custody with children spending roughly equal time with each parent might work for some people, but specific issues could make this common approach less than ideal. In that case, parents should be open to other custody arrangements.

A person might choose to consult an attorney when ending a marriage. Legal counsel could inform a client about specific state laws that guide divorce. With legal advice, a soon-to-be ex might navigate important negotiations about the division of marital property and child support.

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