“Organization and being organized are the key to having less stress when you divorce”
Too many people are unprepared for divorce. They leave a lot to chance when they don’t have to. For example, most marriages don’t suddenly break apart. It takes years for the process to complete itself. Thus, each party would have at least a six month window where they suspect that the marriage will dissolve and at that time they should start making copies of documents just in case and keep these documents in a safe place, away from the other spouse, if for no other reason, in case there is a reconciliation. A lot of times, however, they fail to do this – or one of them does (usually the guy).
Because one is never certain whether a marriage will be saved, it is important to protect oneself. It is important to know at least to the best extent possible, what the assets and debts are of the marriage. These matters will be conclusively determined with the discovery process however if one spouse does not know what assets are available, it is difficult to alert the attorney to look for it. And it is easier for the more savvy spouse to hide things.
The key to the whole process is organization. You’ve simply got to be organized. Keep a file and keep a copy of the most recent documents in it. Your spouse doesn’t have to be the wiser if things work out. If things don’t then your rights and interests are protected.
I believe that the most organized party usually does better in a divorce. I strongly counsels clients to keep a record of as many documents as possible, including deeds, mortgage statements, bank statements, brokerage statements, pre nups, educational certificates and loan statements, corporate records, partnership agreements, a log of marital quabbles if adultery or inhumane treatment is alleged, insurance documents, etc.
This is the key to minimizing stress during your divorce. You probably won’t be able to have a totally stress free divorce but you definitely can reduce the stress of divorce by being more organized, and getting a head start of being organized, months in advance of even filing (or asking!).