Steps to Take Before Filing

Preparing for divorce is a vitally important part of the beginning of the process.  Many people underestimate the significance of making sure some basic and proper steps are taken before the divorce is first filed.  Ensuring that certain measures are taken before the divorce is first filed can help reduce the stress and commotion that often accompanies the initiation of a divorce case.

First you will want to take stock of your financial assets.  Try to gain a basic understanding of what property you and your spouse own.  Do not automatically exclude any property that you believe is separate property either of yours or your spouses.  You will want to give a list of all of these potential assets to your attorney, and he or she can help you in determining whether the assets are subject to division in the final divorce.  Do not be concerned if you do not have access to certain accounts or if you do not even know where these accounts are held.  Your attorney can help you find out all of that information in a process called discovery.  For now, simply try to gain a basic understanding of the marital assets.

Next, you will also want an accounting of the marital debt.  Just like marital assets, marital debt is subject to distribution in the final divorce decree.  Knowing what there is to be divided will help you make a plan for your future and come up with strategies for financial independence.

Third, if you have children, you will want to think long and hard about what is truly best for them in this process.  Consider the issues of stability, schooling, extracurricular activities, and scheduling.  Any parent always wants to maximize the amount of time he or she shares with the children, but this decision needs to be made through the lens of what is best for the child, not the desires of the parent.

Finally, creating a list of priorities and discussing whether these priorities are realistic with your attorney will help shape your strategy at the very outset of the divorce all the way through the final hearing.  Whether you will ask for spousal support, if you want to sell the marital residence, and how to deal with any separate property could all be issues.  You should think thoroughly about what is truly important to you, and which goal should be the most important in your case.

If you are thinking about a divorce, you need an experienced attorney to help you with the process.  We have helped many clients come through a divorce and attain their goals.  Call us today at (732) 529-6937 to talk about your case, your future, and how we can help you prepare to file your case.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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