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Contemplating a Divorce or Dissolution?
Here are Some Steps to Consider from Cleveland divorce lawyer Dean Colovas
By: Attorney Dean Colovas

Divorce is tough and can be emotionally traumatic. It is to your advantage to prepare for divorce thoughtfully by following the six basic steps which are outlined below and consulting a Cleveland divorce lawyer. These steps will maximize your ability to make the process as smooth as possible.

Step One: Take immediate inventory of your assets and liabilities

It is surprising how many people do not really know exactly what they own and who they owe. Make sure you prepare a complete list of all of your bank accounts, securities of any kind and retirement accounts. Try to round up any documents you may have as to the value of your home, automobiles and other assets of value. Gather whatever records you may have pertaining to credit cards, doctor’s bills, home and car loans and other material debts.

Also remember to designate the assets and liabilities which were brought into the marriage by each spouse, as this can be an important factor in ultimate distribution. You can always call a Cleveland divorce attorney or contact the website of your local court to obtain a pre-trial statement or asset and liability disclosure for which can help provide you with a guide of the information you will eventually need.

Step Two: Create a current budget

As you begin to prepare for divorce, record on paper or your computer how you think your money is currently being spent. If you are still living with your future ex-spouse, you may still be functioning as one household. After a divorce, however, you will have to operate two households on essentially the same income. It is a great idea to list your expenses, both in your current household and what you anticipate you will be facing or may already be facing if you have separated.

Step Three: Talk to your spouse (if you can) to preserve and protect the status quo

Once it is clear the marriage is coming to an end, it could be over in two months or two years. If you can still communicate with your spouse, try to come to some arrangement as to how bills are going to be paid and assets are going to be divided while the case is pending. This can save a lot of time and attorney fees. If you cannot come to an agreement, at least try to identify where the issues lie, which can help streamline the questions the court may ultimately have to decide.

If, unfortunately, you can no longer communicate with your spouse, you may have to withdraw enough of your assets (do not take more than half) to assure, one, that you can provide for yourself while the case is pending and two, that they do not end up taking all the assets. In any instance, keep good records of what you do.

Step Four: Determine if divorce or dissolution is best for you

Dissolution is essentially the Ohio term for a “no fault” divorce. It requires the spouses coming to a complete agreement as to all issues regarding child custody, asset and debt distribution, and support. You need to evaluate if a dissolution is attainable because, if it is, it can be worth its weight in gold. It can save significant time and attorney fees and also can serve to alleviate conflict between the parties. Remember, if you have children, you will still likely have to deal with your spouse years after your divorce so it helps to keep hostilities at a minimum.

Step Five: Keep a journal

This always seems to be a good idea. Divorce can often take a long time to conclude. They will inevitably be facts that you will need to retrieve at the end of a case that you may have forgotten. Start writing things down every day. It may just be a couple of sentences or a paragraph but if anything unusual happens, make sure it is noted. This will allow you to have a reference point as to what happened and when and is admissible in a court of law for purposes of “refreshing recollection” if you cannot otherwise remember.

Please note, though, that if you do keep a journal the other side is entitled to see it. Be factual with what you record. Remember, it is better to have the information and not need it than it is to need the information and not have it.

Step Six: Always think about the children

If you have children, your divorce can affect them more than it does either you or your spouse. Try and think of them first. There is nothing more important in your divorce than properly resolving child custody issues. In many ways, the success or failure of divorce has a profound and direct correlation on how smoothly the children are able to make the transition into having their parents live apart. It amazing the decisions that can be made easier if only they were viewed in the context of what impact they will have on the children.

Call an experienced Cleveland divorce lawyer (www.colovaslaw.com) to further discuss the particulars of your case and to make sure you handle your preparation properly. Attorney Dean Colovas can be easily reached at (216) 621-5500 and will be glad to give you the answers and help that you need.

Dean A. Colovas

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