Steps for Planning a Divorce

Marriage can be difficult and some people find that their marriage should come to an end. Good preparation will help avoid problems and make the experience less stressful. Before you move forward with your divorce, consider these important steps for planning a divorce.

Prepare Details of the Separation

Once you have decided to separate, you need to start getting ready. A physical separation need not necessarily occur before or even after filing for divorce, but it is inevitable that at some point, you will be living separately from your spouse.  Determine your budget and begin looking for a place to live. Remember that you can’t be sure that you will receive spousal maintenance or have an obligation to pay spousal maintenance, so you need to review your finances accordingly and plan for multiple contingencies.

Save Money for the Separation

Regardless of which spouse is going to leave the marital home, you’ll need to have some money for the new arrangements. For the time being, your income will need to cover living expenses for two residences. Keep in mind that your money belongs to both of you, at least until the Petition for Dissolution is served, and you are not allowed to take funds or property for yourself without permission from your spouse except under a relatively few circumstances.  Always check with an attorney before taking or drawing from community assets.

Begin Making Lists of Assets and Debts

Now is the best time to gather information and documentation about your marital assets and debts. Request that you receive information about your bank accounts, loans, pensions, stocks, and credit cards. This information will prove instrumental later as you work through the settlement terms of the divorce. Some of this data may take some time to receive.

Think About Logistics When Making Decisions

There may be some reasons why you want or need to remain in close proximity to your marital residence. For example, if you have children, it will be more convenient for you to see them and potentially be a part of their daily lives. You may also want to stay nearby so you can more easily move your property out when the time comes. Consider getting a post office box where you can receive mail during the interim period.

Avoid Starting Up New Relationships

While your marriage may be over, it is not advisable to start seeing someone new just yet. Most divorces in Arizona are filed due to irreconcilable differences. Sometimes, other grounds for divorce may be used. If a spouse is known to commit adultery it could impact the distribution of assets in the divorce if community property funds were used to further the affair.  If a new dating partner has issues of concern in their past or present, it may impact legal decision-making and parenting time decisions.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Start looking for an experienced family law attorney to handle your divorce. Your lawyer will answer your questions and provide you with guidance to help you protect your interests throughout this difficult time. Your attorney will also be instrumental in resolving difficult disputes and will negotiate to achieve a fair settlement.

Call the divorce lawyers at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation to talk about your divorce today.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Planning a Divorce, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.