Getting Organized for a Divorce – What to Do Before You File

By Attorney Karissa Parker-Geisler, Associate

The process of divorce can seem overwhelming, especially in the early stages.  People often wonder: What should I do now that I have decided to get divorced? Selecting a supportive attorney is only one step in the process.  

Here are a few initial steps to take once you have decided to file for divorce that will help you prepare for the process:

  • Understand your finances: At the outset, it will be beneficial for you and your attorney to identify all assets of your marriage, any sources of income, and the family’s historical earnings. It can help to set expectations for the outcome of your divorce.
  • Collect Your Financial Statements: Whether you are the primary earner in your family or not, having a basic understanding of your finances will be very helpful and ease some stress in the beginning stages of your divorce. We suggest collecting several years’ worth of financial statements, such as tax returns, bank or investment account statements, and credit card statements, for both you and your spouse, if possible. In addition, it will be useful to locate recent statements or information for life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and any mortgage or line of credit accounts. If you do not have access to these documents, gather a list of your financial professionals who do.  
  • Prepare a Financial Affidavit: In the first few months of your divorce, it will be necessary for you to produce a Financial Affidavit showing your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.  You can also expect that many of these documents will be exchanged with your spouse and his or her attorney by way of the discovery process.  
  • Speak to a mental health professional before speaking to your children: If you have children, shielding them from the emotional tolls of the divorce is likely to be at the forefront of your mind. We suggest that you, ideally with your spouse, consult with a child therapist or psychologist before filing for divorce regarding the best way to discuss the divorce with your children. Even in a situation where parents continue to interact amicably, children can be confused or overwhelmed by the divorce process, so the guidance of a seasoned professional can help minimize any emotional impact on the children.  
  • Gather a support system: The emotional toll of a divorce is not limited to children.  It can, at times, be an isolating or stressful process. In addition to having a supportive team of attorneys, we suggest you think about those who can support you emotionally such as your friends, family, or a therapist. They will help you process the emotional aspects of your divorce which can make things much easier. 
  • Interview Attorneys: Consider interviewing several attorneys to find the best fit for you. Your divorce is a very important change in your life, so you will want to ensure that you are comfortable with the attorney you’ve chosen. An attorney’s style and approach may be just as important as their knowledge, skill set, and experience. Every attorney will have a slightly different way of approaching a divorce. The interview process is a good way for you and your attorney to get to know one another and make sure the relationship is a good fit.

Karissa Parker-Geisler represents clients in the negotiation and litigation of all facets of family law including divorce, custody including alimony, child support, property division, post-judgment matters, and pre-nuptial agreements.  
You can reach Karissa at


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