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A Checklist to Prepare for Divorce

divorce checklist

It’s never easy to decide on divorce, especially if there are children involved. Nonetheless, not everything can be resolved and sometimes, divorce is still the best solution to your problem. If you are planning for divorce, use this checklist to make sure that you are prepared so that everything can go as smoothly as possible.

Here are some big ticketed items to tick off.

Are you 100% sure?

Have you tried working out the problem with your spouse through marriage counselling? Have you talked with your spouse, your family, your friends? Do you really want a divorce? It is almost impossible to reserve the process of divorce once you start, so it is vital to be 100% sure.

Consider collaborative divorce

The divorce process does not need to be hostile. If you and your spouse are on talking terms, consider collaborative divorce or using a mediator to work through the process amicably. The process of divorce through these methods remove the hostility, and both of you can work through the terms and conditions with a team of legal, financial and childcare experts. These options minimise the damage of divorce proceedings for both you and the children.

Organised your documents

You need to produce all kinds of documents to prove your financial status, so it is helpful for you to gather everything you need before you meet an experienced family lawyer. Some of the essential items include income-related, real estate-related, financial, marital debts and vehicles ownership documents. It will be best if you can create a balance sheet to produce an extensive overview to highlight pre-marital or gifted assets as well. These preparations will save you some legal fees and also help you to sort out your financial goals from the divorce.

Make your plans

Stop spending impulsively to ensure sufficient funds to file for divorce. A few things could also happen after that. The family court could put a hold on your finances to prevent you or your spouse from draining funds out of spite. If you need to sell or buy anything, make sure you do it before the divorce. If you plan to move out after filing for divorce, make sure that you make plans to have a new place to live in.

While you could choose to stay together during the divorce, it is unlikely to create a pleasant environment for either of you. Hence, making sure that you have a place to stay before you file for divorce is probably the best solution.

Hire an experienced family lawyer

You need to hire an experienced divorce lawyer in Singapore to help you with your divorce proceedings. While you could try to do it yourself, the DIY route is not advisable as it is easy for you to miss things out and create a bigger problem. Ask for recommendations and don’t just hire the first lawyer you meet. Ensure that you are comfortable with your divorce lawyer and make sure that he or she is experienced in handling cases such as yours.

To give you a better idea on what to expect, we spoke to an experienced senior family lawyer from Gloria James-Civetta & Co, Ms Shereen Goklani to understand the divorce proceedings.

How does the timeline look like for a typical divorce proceeding in Singapore?

Where all terms have been agreed to by consent, the proceedings can conclude in 4-5 months from the date of filing. However, contested divorce proceedings can sometimes take 3 to 10 months to conclude.

How do family lawyers help their clients during a divorce proceeding?

We help by remaining solution orientated. While the clients feel a range of emotions, it is crucial to remind them of their objectives and goals. We help them focus their precious time and resources on achieving their desired outcome.

What can your clients do to help you manage their divorce proceedings better?

While we understand that it can be an extremely challenging phase in one’s life, it helps us to assist our clients better if they are sure of their objectives. Sometimes, taking a week or two to process their emotions and think through their long-term plans makes a big difference in bringing about clarity. [It] makes it much easier for us to strategize in navigating our clients through this process in the most pain-free manner possible.