woman telling her husband she wants a divorce

Preparing for a Divorce Before Telling Your Spouse

By Michael DiFalco

Initiating the divorce process can be challenging and overwhelming. There is no right or wrong way to do it, but one thing is for sure — you must inform your spouse of your intentions.

Telling your spouse you’re planning to file for divorce can be difficult under any circumstances, especially if you anticipate a contentious situation. By taking steps to prepare before having the talk, you can feel confident moving ahead with your divorce. 

How to Prepare Before Discussing Divorce with Your Spouse

Breaking the news to your spouse can change the dynamic in your relationship, and fast. Having a conversation with your spouse before you start preparing for divorce and any potential fallout could ultimately put more pressure and stress on you.

The following are some of the best steps to add to your pre-divorce checklist before discussing anything with your spouse. 

Inventory Your Property and Assets

Property division is one of the most important matters you’ll address during your divorce. Therefore, it’s helpful to take inventory of your property and assets before diving into the divorce process.

New York is an equitable distribution state. This means that in a divorce, property is divided between spouses in a way that is equitable, or fair. Typically, only property that is considered marital property is divided. Marital property is property and assets acquired during the life of the marriage.

Separate property, on the other hand, is property each spouse brought into the marriage or acquired as a gift or through inheritance. Usually, spouses are allowed to walk away from their marriage with their separate property. 

When you know the difference between your separate property and marital property, you have the opportunity to protect your property. If you can inventory the assets you came into the marriage with or track down records of gifts from family, you will be in a better position and more prepared for your divorce.

Gather Essential Documents

Divorce involves plenty of information and documentation. Some of the documents you may consider putting together include:

  • Tax returns and W2s
  • Bank account statements 
  • Credit card statements
  • Deeds and closing documents
  • Financial documents
  • Debt/loan statements

The more information you have, the more prepared you can feel going into your divorce. 

Start Taking Steps Toward Separating Your Life from Your Spouse’s

When you’re married, your lives intertwine into one. For this reason, it’s hard to even think about separating yourself completely from your spouse. Still, it must be done in the case of divorce.

Before engaging in the divorce process, you can start taking steps toward separating yourself from your spouse, including:

  • Protecting your privacy on your iPhone and other devices, changing passwords, passcodes, email passwords, stop location sharing and cloud sharing
  • Getting your own bank account if you just have a shared account
  • Opening a new credit card in your name 
  • Finding your own health insurance if you’re on your spouse’s plan
  • Considering your living arrangements during your divorce and after
  • Protecting your information and accounts

Taking these steps beforehand can make it a little easier on you once your divorce proceedings begin. 

Make Sure You Have a Strong Support System

Divorce is never easy. It can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. Therefore, it’s helpful to have your support system ready.

Whether it be family, friends, or a therapist, discuss your plans with trusted individuals ahead of time so they can prepare to play a supportive role throughout your divorce.

Think About the Children

If you and your spouse share children, you can start thinking about how the divorce will affect them to better prepare them. Additionally, you can begin making plans, including where the children should live during the divorce and how you’ll share parenting time with your spouse.

Of course, what happens with the children greatly depends on several factors, but putting your kids at the forefront of your mind is essential. 

Before Taking Any Step Toward Divorce, Speak to a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney

If you’re preparing for divorce, discuss your situation with an experienced divorce attorney. Your lawyer can provide guidance and support and better help you prepare your pre-divorce checklist. 

Contact Aiello & DiFalco in Garden City, New York, today to schedule a consultation with a skilled divorce attorney. 

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.