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What should I find out before I seek out a divorce?

Before you get a divorce, there are a certain number of things you can do to make sure you have the information you're going to need. There are always concerns, like how your spouse will take the request for a divorce or what you'll do with your assets, but preparing for divorce before you apply can help.

Before you ask for a divorce, consider your legal options. Are you seeking a no-fault divorce? How much will the divorce cost, and which kind of litigation or path to divorce would suit your situation best? You might decide that mediation would work better, allowing you and your spouse to work out any details outside the courtroom. This way you can reach an amicable agreement with your spouse before you go in front of a judge. You also may want to go by your prenuptial agreement as long as it is a fair representation of your current situation.

You should know your income and your spouse's annual income as well. The main factors in a divorce all relate to money. When you want spousal support, benefits, child support or other assets, you'll need to know how much your spouse has available to offer. You can get this information from pay stubs or tax returns, but if your spouse is forthcoming, simply ask.

You may also want to assess your debts and assets. The allocation of debts is a part of the process, so if you're looking at major credit card debt, you may want to prepare to negotiate over who takes on those debts. Assess what you earn before this; it may help you negotiate debt by showing what debt you can actually able to financially assume.

Source: Family Education, "21 Things to Do Before Asking for a Divorce," accessed Oct. 15, 2015

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