People often spend months or years considering whether to get divorced (called dissolution of marriage in Washington State). This time should not be wasted. There are things that should be done in case your marriage does come to an end. Here are a few things to consider doing in the time leading up to the filing of a petition for the dissolution of marriage:
- Understand your finances. During the divorce process all of your assets and debts will be divided. This is perhaps the most important time in a person’s financial life that they understand their finances. Understanding your assets and debts will allow you to make good decisions regarding their division during the dissolution process.
- Assess your involvement with your children, and make sure you understand their needs. Oftentimes your relationship with your children during your marriage will have a large impact on your relationship with your children after your divorce. If your unhappy marriage has led to you having less involvement with your children than you would like, increase your involvement. Spend time with your kids alone. This will show you, your kids, and the courts (should your marriage end) that you have the ability to care for your children on your own. Also, consider your children as individuals. Will they be able to thrive in the type of custody schedule (called a residential schedule in Washington State) you have in mind? What tweaks might you make to your envisioned plans to serve their needs better? This is also a good time to think about any traditions or activities that you usually do with your children. During the dissolution, you may decide to seek a schedule that allows you to preserve these traditions and activities. Having some things remain consistent after your marriage is ended can benefit both you and your kids.
- Look at your career options. If you have not been working full time, or if you have not been working at all, you may want to assess what options you might have after your marriage is dissolved. In many cases, the non-working spouse has to start working to afford their lifestyle post-divorce. Think about your interests and whether you will need any additional schooling or training to obtain the career you would like and an income that allows you to afford the lifestyle you want.
- Speak with a family law attorney. A family law attorney can advise you on specific ways that you should prepare for a potential divorce. An attorney can help you decide whether you should pay off any debts, get a job, change your relationship with your kids, and more in preparation for a potential divorce.
In most circumstances, a person will only benefit from an investigation into the above issues. Even if you decide not to get divorced, knowing more about your finances, kids, career, and legal options is a good thing. If you would like to speak with a Seattle family law attorney, please contact Blair & Kim today. We are prepared to advise you on the best way to prepare yourself for a dissolution of marriage.