(1) Do You Really Want to Get a Divorce:
This seems like an obvious answer, however, the decision to get divorced is an emotional one. Make sure you’ve exhausted all hope of reconciliation before you file for divorce because while not impossible, it is really difficult to go back and change your mind once the divorce papers are filed. If your spouse wants a divorce and you don’t, the court will still grant a divorce when one spouse wants to end the marriage. If you’d still like to give marital counseling a try, do so before you file for divorce.
(2) Interview and Hire an Attorney:
Before deciding on getting a divorce, you should get an attorney, if not more than one. The attorney will be able to discuss whether your situation would lead to a joint divorce or a contested divorce. It is easier and less expensive if you and your spouse can settle all your divorce issues without litigation. You want to find an attorney who knows the value of settling quickly but is also willing to fight for you should the need arise.
(3) Figure Out Your Debt:
Nevada is a community property state. Thus, it does not matter whose name is on the debt, but when the debt occurred. Your attorney will be able to assist you in determining what debt is considered your community debt, and what debt is considered your community (Marital) debt. The easiest way to determine your debt is to get a copy of your credit report. Once you have determined what debt you have, you will need to obtain statements on all open accounts and the balance due.
(4) Figure Out What You Own:
Nevada is a community property state. Thus, it does not matter whose name is on the title to the house, bank account, or vehicle, but how and when the asset/property was purchased. In some cases, the property could be partially separate property and community property. Make a list of possible assets and get copies of all the documentation regarding each asset and its present value. You will want to know when and where the asset was purchased and whether the asset was purchased using community or separate funds.
(5) Determine Your Spouse’s Income:
You will need to prove your income and the income of your spouse during the divorce, especially if you are seeking child and/or spousal support. If you and your spouse are salaried employees, then the determination is relatively easy because you can get copies of the most recent pay stubs and tax returns. If you or your spouse are self-employed, then you will need copies of your spouse’s bank statements, financial business statements and business credit card statements so you can get a better picture of your spouse’s income. This information may also be useful if you believe your spouse is spending his/her income inappropriately and on other things not benefiting the marriage.
(6) Establish Your Own Credit:
Some spouses don’t have credit in their own name and that should be changed immediately. You can obtain credit by getting a credit card in your name only. In many cases, this could you lead you to having a hard time purchasing a home or car because they have spent years sharing credit with their spouse. All that credit you have had over the years with your spouse is helpful to the name holder but once you are single, you will get very little ‘credit’ for keeping those payments up. The goal is to establish good credit and not run up a bunch of debt. Use the credit card sparingly and make sure you pay the entire amount off each month. Do not use your credit card to run up debt on unnecessary purchases. You might be liable for the entire amount if the purchases are determined to be “waste”.
(7) Make A Post-Divorce Budget:
When you get divorced, your income will almost never be enough to live the same lifestyle as you did while married. You will need to determine what you will have to live on once you are divorced and what your cost of living will be. You need to start now so you aren’t shocked when the bills start coming in. If you don’t know the exact amount, you need to estimate that expense. Making a budget is not only important so you have an idea of what you need to survive, but it will influence how you and your attorney will negotiate your divorce settlement. Having a budget will help you figure out what you will need financially in order to evaluate your settlement options or what you may ask for should your case go to court.
(8) Think About Where You and Your Spouse Will Live:
Do you have young children? Do you have enough money to pay for two places while you are getting a divorce? Who is going to move out, you or your spouse? Before you move out or even file for divorce, you need to discuss this issue with your lawyer.
(9) Determine Custody Goals:
In Nevada, both parents have equal rights to joint custody of the children. This means that unless there are other circumstances, you and your spouse should work towards an equal, or close to equal visitation plan with the children. In some cases, a spouse’s job schedule, addiction, or past/present criminal history could affect the visitation schedule with the children. Child custody is probably the most difficult issue in divorce. If the parties can’t agree to custody, both spouses will likely pay more in attorneys’ fees and the divorce will take longer to complete.
(10) Behave Like You Are Still Married:
This is especially important if you have children, however, even if you don’t have children, there should be no dating, no partying, no hanging out till all hours of the morning and spending money unnecessarily. Divorce is an especially stressful time for your children and your spouse, even if both of you want the divorce. Remember, at one point in your relationship, your spouse was likely you best friend and the love of your life. Try not to make the Divorce a war. Spend time with friends, family and your children. Stay close to home, take care of yourself physically and emotionally, attend to your spiritual life. Take the high road every time!
If you would need assistance with your case, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office by calling 775-323-1321.