12 Mar 2012
Divorcing can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. The divorce procedure has been well documented as one of the highest known factors for incurring stress. This is because divorce combines a multitude of well known, high-stress situations, such as breaking up with a partner, re-location, major changes to the family structure, and new financial burdens.
We understand how difficult the divorce procedure can be and have devised a thorough checklist to ensure the last thing you have to worry about is whether you have forgotten something important.
If you are currently going through a divorce, feel free to grab a pen and paper and go through each item on this checklist to assess where you currently are in the process. Include any comments, ideas, and questions you might have. If you feel that you have a lot you are unsure of or worried about, ask one our divorce attorneys about it. You may be surprised at how much you have to learn, and how much easier the process can be if you have an ally and advocate on your side.
This list is by no means “all inclusive”, but it will give you a great start to understanding the requirements of your future divorce. The good news is that no matter if you choose to pursue a traditional contested divorce, or a no-fault uncontested divorce, this checklist can help you get started with the process.
Custody and Access of Children
- Legal Custody. Will there be joint or sole legal custody?
- Routine Access Schedule: Where will the children be on a given day?
- Vacation Access Schedule: How many weeks of uninterrupted vacation time with the children?
- Holiday Access Schedule: Who will the children celebrate with in a given year? What are they currently used to?
- School Breaks: Where will the children spend their vacation time?
- Telephone Contact: What will the rules concerning communication with the children by phone?
- Transportation: Who will transport the children for parenting time exchanges?
- Best Interest of the Child: With all of these factors, which is the best for the children, not necessarily you or your spouse?
Child Support, Income Tax and Other Child Expenses
- Basic Child Support: How much does it cost to support the children? What do the Maryland Child Support Guidelines say the child support should be?
- Medical/Dental Child Support: Who will insure the children?
- Child Care Support: How much will each parent pay for daycare?
- Security for Support: Should one or both parents secure life insurance for the benefit of the children?
- Income Tax Exemptions: Who claims the children on their income taxes?
- Spousal Maintenance/Alimony: How much and for how long will one spouse need support before he or she can become self supporting?
Property, Pre-Separation Debts and More
- Medical Insurance: Will each party cover his or her own insurance?
- Marital Property: What is a fair and equitable way to value and divide marital property?
- Non-Marital Property: What is considered non-marital property? Does the holder of a non-marital interest retain that interest without inquiry?
- Pre and Post Separation Debts: How is the marital debt divided?
- Fees and Costs: Will one party pay attorneys’ fees and court costs, or will each be responsible for his or her own fees and costs?
- Name Change: Does either spouse wish to change their name?
- Ongoing Conflicts: Will the parties agree to mediate?
- Documents: Do each agree to execute all paperwork necessary to transfer property interests?
- Non-Disclosure: Does the court retain the ability to re-open the case?