You don’t want to rush, or be rushed, into a divorce. You do need to feel that the decision to end your marriage is a good one, and that doing so will have positive results for you. To ensure that the decision to divorce is the right one for you, here are four things you should consider before filing for divorce:
Marriage counseling may help you and your spouse reconnect, the focus being on saving the marriage. Divorce counseling could help you understand what went wrong in your marriage. It can also help you learn how to cope with your changed circumstances, and how to go about picking up the pieces of your life and moving on. Don’t hold off on counseling in anticipation of your spouse’s participation, which may never happen anyway. When you need help, reach out for it. We can help you locate a qualified counselor in your area. You might also ask for recommendations from friends, church leaders, or family members who may have utilized counseling or who know of someone who has.
Before you discuss divorce with your spouse, you should consider a consultation with an Arizona divorce and family law attorney to educate yourself on the legal issues that you will face. Arizona’s divorce laws are complex and lengthy, particularly where children are involved. A mistake or poor decision based on a lack of understanding could have very negative consequences. By meeting with an attorney before you make a final decision about divorce, you will learn what your options are going into the process while you still have the ability to alter the outcome. Our attorneys are well versed on the intricacies of Arizona divorce law.
Don’t leave the marital home if you want to stay there during and after the divorce. Discuss this with an attorney, because leaving the home may make it much more difficult for you to go back. Also, if you leave the family home, you may have problems returning to retrieve your personal items and separate property without a court order. The best advice is to stay in your house until after you speak with an attorney. However, if there is domestic violence, you must take all steps necessary to protect yourself and your children.
One. Take possession of certain assets during separation, especially those things that you will need to use, like furniture and a vehicle. Take possession of cash and those assets that your spouse might try to liquidate, or sell, such as valuable jewelry, collections, and bearer bonds.
Two. To protect your assets, you could seek injunctive relief to restrain your spouse from transferring or otherwise disposing of the property identified in the court’s restraining order. Your attorney may use an injunction to force the return of your separate property, as when your spouse has possession of your things and has refused relinquish possession to you.
Three. You can protect your credit rating by freezing or closing joint credit cards, and by blocking your spouse’s access to joint credit, such as a home equity loan. You can close joint bank accounts and open new accounts in your name only. You can change the name of the responsible party on utility and other bills.
This short list is only intended to get you started down the right path, but there are many other details you need to be aware of and take action on if you are contemplating divorce. Use this website for more information about the rights and duties of divorcing spouses under Arizona law, as well as how to file for a divorce. You’ll find a law library, child support calculator, lists of professionals who can help you, stories from people just like you who have survived divorce, and much more, all just a click away.