Five Things to Get in Order Before You File for Divorce in Arizona
According to the American Psychological Association, between 40 and 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce.
That number is even higher if it’s a subsequent marriage.
So if you are considering divorce, you are not alone. But, what should you do before filing a divorce in Arizona?
There are a few things you should get in order before you actually file for divorce in Arizona.
Consider Your Health Insurance
Many married couples use only one person’s health insurance.
This is especially true when families are covering children.
However, once you get divorced, this will be problematic.
You and your ex-spouse will each need coverage.
Most people get health insurance through their employer.
You could each elect your own employer’s coverage if you are both employed.
Divorce qualifies as a life event that will allow you to elect coverage outside of the normal open enrollment window.
If you or your spouse is not employed, another option for health coverage will need to be decided.
You can look to your state government and national programs for help.
Or, you could plan to get a job with insurance coverage before you file for divorce in Arizona.
Consider Your Debt Payments
Do you and your spouse share debt? Student loans, car loans, mortgages, and personal loans can all be sources of debt.
Before you file for divorce, get a good handle on your finances and your exact amount of debt.
Once you understand your financial situation, you have to determine whether you could take on paying that debt back if it is split between you two during the divorce process.
If not, you may need to consider getting another job, looking into payment options and talking with a lawyer about how to handle your next steps.
You should never say in a bad marriage because of debt, but you should have a clear picture of how that debt will affect you as you move forward with your life.
Ask yourself whether you should sell the family home, sell a car, or move to a less-expensive area.
Consider Your Housing Situation
It’s unlikely you and your ex-spouse will live together after divorce. You need a plan for housing.
Step one in determining where you will live is understanding how much you can afford.
This goes back to understanding your finances and debts.
Child support can offset some of your costs if you have children and they will live with you.
Many states offer a basic online calculator for child support.
You should use it as a guide, not an exact calculation.
The exact amount will be decided during the divorce process, but the initial calculator can help you plan how much you can afford in terms of housing.
Alimony (or spousal support) may or may not be awarded during the divorce.
This will vary greatly from marriage to marriage and from state to state.
There is really no way to predict this, so it’s best to not count on it when determining your future housing.
Beyond the cost of your housing, you should also consider the location.
If you are hoping to move out of state, you should speak to a lawyer first.
Some states make it difficult to move away once you get divorced in their jurisdiction.
This is especially true when children are involved.
A lawyer will be able to help you plan ahead and understand the ramifications of filing in one state and moving the children to another state.
Consider Any Necessary Job Training
Do you have a job? Do you need more training to earn enough income after getting divorced?
For some people, they have been out of the workforce for a period of time.
Often, this relates to women who forgo their career to raise a family, but there can be other situations where job training is required.
This is something to consider before you file for divorce.
If you need a job or job training, start looking into it now.
Prep your resume and start applying for positions or look into job training options.
You can start taking classes now.
At a minimum, you can make some decisions about the job path you’d like to take and what is required to get there.
Consider Your Retirement Planning
If you share a retirement account, such as a 401k or a Roth IRA, with your partner, you need to consider getting your own.
However, you need a long-term plan for retirement.
Once you get divorced, it will be up to you to save for your own retirement.
If you are the one who has the retirement account and are sharing it with your spouse, you need to understand that you may lose half that money.
Consider how this will impact your retirement plans. Will you need to work longer and retire at a later age?
All of these issues must be considered before you file for divorce.
It will make your divorce much smoother, and it will enable you to move forward with your life much faster.
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Chris Hildebrand posted this article about divorce and alimony to ensure everyone has access to information about divorce in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and alimony attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce.