Pre-Divorce Checklist

What to Do Before You Divorce:
An Essential Planning Guide

Preparation is vital when considering a divorce. Not only does this involve emotional readiness, but practical steps must be taken to protect your interests before proceedings begin. Here’s an informative checklist for those contemplating divorce, focusing on safeguarding your financial and personal well-being.

1. Consult a Divorce Attorney

It is paramount to find an attorney who understands your needs and can understand Massachusetts’s legal landscape. Your attorney should offer legal knowledge, comfort, and trust, as they will be your advocate and advisor through this challenging process.

2. Secure Your Financial Documents

Before taking any legal action, gather and organize all crucial financial documents. This includes bank statements, tax returns, investment accounts, and debt records. Having these documents readily available will streamline the initial phases of the divorce process and ensure you’re prepared for any required financial disclosures.

3. Adjust Your Digital Privacy

In today’s interconnected world, securing your digital life is as important as your physical one. Change passwords for your email, social media accounts, and other online services to prevent unauthorized access. This step is about protecting your privacy and ensuring communications regarding your divorce remain confidential.

4. Establish Financial Independence

Open individual bank and credit card accounts to start building your financial independence. This move is crucial for establishing credit in your name alone and ensuring you have access to funds your spouse cannot touch, which is especially important in cases where financial control can become contentious.

5. Protect Personal Valuables

Safeguard any personal items of significant value or sentimental worth. Whether it's jewelry, heirlooms, or important documents, secure these items in a safe place where they cannot be tampered with or taken by your spouse.

6. Evaluate Your Credit

Obtain a copy of your credit report to understand your financial standing and identify any joint accounts or liabilities. This knowledge will be essential for disentangling your financial ties and protecting your credit score during the divorce. Correct any inaccuracies and work towards resolving shared debts.

7. Create a New Mailing Address

Establish a personal post office box or an alternative mailing address to ensure you securely receive all correspondence related to your divorce. This step prevents sensitive information from being intercepted and guarantees that communications from your attorney or financial institutions remain private.

8. Plan Your Post-Divorce Budget

Assess your financial situation and anticipate changes to your income and expenses after the divorce. Consider the impact of losing a spouse’s income and adjust your budget to reflect your new financial reality, considering your future living situation an the needs of any dependents. This proactive planning is crucial for maintaining your quality of life. It can help prevent financial strain, ensuring stability regardless of whether you find yourself in a better or more challenging financial position. Assess your financial situation and anticipate changes to your income and expenses post-divorce. Create a budget that reflects your new financial reality, considering both your needs and those of any dependents. This proactive approach can help prevent financial strain and promote stability.

9. Assemble a Support System

Divorce can be emotionally taxing. Build a network of support, including friends, family, and professionals like therapists or support groups, to help you face the emotional aspects of your divorce. Resources like offer community and advice for those going through similar experiences.

For further insights into pre-divorce planning, contact Reade Law Firm, PC,
online or at (978) 767-8383 to schedule a consultation online.