When you first think, “I want a divorce,” you may feel overwhelmed with what that means for you, your spouse, and your children. Deciding that you want a divorce from your spouse will be one of the biggest, and possibly the hardest decisions you will ever make.
Every marriage is unique, which makes every divorce unique. Whether your spouse is cheating or you and your spouse are no longer compatible, separation and divorce are lengthy and complicated processes. It is important to note that North Carolina is a no-fault state for divorce, which means there are no requirements or “grounds” that need to be met in order to file for divorce.
Going through a divorce can be a stressful process, both emotionally and financially. Before you make the final decision to move forward with a separation, there are some important things to consider.
If you haven’t already, consider marital counseling. If you are on the fence about separating from your spouse, perhaps counseling can help you make the final decision. You and your spouse can meet with a certified marital counselor and see if your issues can be worked out, or if separation and possibly divorce is the best option for your family.
If counseling doesn’t work and you decide to initiate the divorce process, it is extremely important that you do not sign any documents until you meet with a family law attorney. There are some rights which can be waived if you do not request them at the right time. Additionally, it is important that you don’t assume your spouse has your best interests in mind.
Shared Property and Financial Accounts
Start going through your financials. It’s recommended that you have copies of your bank statements, credit cards, and any debt from the past three years. This includes any joint bank and savings accounts you have with your spouse. Also make sure that you have access to all of the shared accounts.
Unless you are worried that you and/or your children are in physical danger, do not agree to move out of your shared home without speaking to an attorney first. If you do fear for you or your children’s safety, call the police immediately.
Discuss with your spouse if there are any items you can agree to split. You will need to determine how you will handle any joint accounts, credit card debts, mortgages, etc. during this process. The more you can agree on, the easier the process will be and the lower your attorney fees will be. You will also need to decide who will get the marital home, or if you will sell it and split the proceeds.