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Prepare for your divorce before you file the petition

One of the biggest mistakes that many people make when they are going through a divorce is trying to rush through the process. Although it isn't possible when you are a victim of domestic violence, it might help you to plan for the divorce when you are going to be the one who files.

Taking the time to get things together before you head to file the petition protect you. Here are some points for you to think about if you are considering a divorce:

Ensure you meet the requirements

In Michigan, you have to meet two residency requirements. You must be a resident of the state for 180 days prior to filing. You must be a resident of the county for the 10 days prior to the filing. If you've recently moved to Michigan or to a new county, make sure that you meet both of these.

Gather the information you need

By the time you file for divorce, you should have a good idea of what your financial situation looks like. If possible, gather copies of everything financial, including bank statements, investment information, mortgage paperwork and similar documentation. Gathering this before you file gives you a chance to double check that you have everything in order. It also decreases the chance that your soon-to-be ex will be able to hide things from you during the property division process.

Make your plan

Use the time between making the decision to leave your spouse and the date you file to make your plan. Look into your finances and set a budget. Figure out what you will be able to handle on your own income. Decide where you will live and explore options about all of the other things you need to do once you leave. If you have children, you need to think about how you will handle work, their schooling and their activities. Try to get all of these plans in place before you file the divorce petition.

If possible, start setting aside some money so that you can have it when you leave. You might also need to think about opening a new credit card account, a bank account and a post office box. The credit card can give you something to rely on in an emergency and the bank account gives you a place to stash money. A post office box is a secure place for you to receive mail, including correspondence related to the divorce.

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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