If your marriage has been an unhappy one for awhile, the coming of the New Year may inspire you to make a positive change. Filing for divorce will cause you to experience a gamut of emotions, from grief and sadness to relief and hope, but once it’s over, you will be able to rebuild and be happier than before.

Like all major life changes, divorce requires preparation. You have to gather certain records to understand your present financial standing and make changes that reflect your transition from married to single. The divorce attorneys at Alexandra Geczi, PLLC in Dallas can help you get there. Read on to learn about the five steps you should take to prepare for an upcoming divorce, and contact our office today for the professional support you deserve.

1. Gather Financial Records and Inventory Your Assets

The first step you should take is to collect financial records, such as checking and savings account information, credit card bills, and mortgage statements, and make copies of each for safekeeping. Examine bank and credit card documents for any unusual transactions or large purchases that you don’t recognize, and make note of them for future investigation. At the same time, find receipts or purchase statements for bigger marital assets like boats, extra vehicles, and home improvements so you can request your rightful share.

2. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

Next, check your credit report to confirm that all the accounts listed are ones that you recognize, and monitor it during the divorce process. If your spouse is charging presents for their new partner on your joint credit cards, they are dissipating marital assets, and you can be compensated with a bigger settlement.

3. Open New Accounts in Your Name

Go to a bank that’s different from the one where your marital accounts are held, and open a checking and savings account in your name — and your name only. Apply for a new credit card, too, if you don’t already have one in your name. Good credit will make it easier to access the resources you need to establish yourself independently.

4. Update Your Estate Plan

If you have a will, advance directive, or other estate planning documents, you should remove your spouse from as many of them as possible if you truly want to separate yourself from your soon-to-be ex. In Texas, the divorce needs to be finalized before your spouse can be completely disinherited. While you can opt to give your separate assets and your share of the community property to someone else, if you are still legally married, your spouse is entitled to a life estate in the homestead and an allowance equal to one year of living expenses, plus other benefits.

5. Hire a Divorce Attorney

An experienced Texas divorce attorney will help you negotiate a fair divorce settlement that gives you what you need to progress to this new and exciting phase of your life. If your spouse is concealing or dissipating marital assets, your attorney will fight for you by taking steps to reclaim this property or see that you receive an award of equivalent value.

Divorce will seem overwhelming in the beginning, but these five steps will make you feel more in control and help keep you in the right frame of mind to make reasoned decisions. If you have questions or are seeking representation for your upcoming divorce, let the team at Alexandra Geczi, PLLC help. We will ensure that your interests are protected and that you face the future with a sound financial plan. Contact us today to get started with a free case evaluation!