The average time between actually thinking about leaving your spouse and filing for a divorce is twelve (12) months. That’s right, a year. Psychologists say there are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that people are concerned for their children’s welfare. If you are contemplating a separation or divorce there are some suggestions to review.

• Determine whether you will remain in the marital home. If not, propose a budget for alternate housing.

• Find a financial planner who can review your finances and assets for the purpose of recorganizing after your dissolution.

• If you cannot locate your tax returns, file a request with the internal revenue service. You can obtain them for the past five years at a nominal cost.

• Determine whether you or your spouse has completed any financial applications for banks or other financial institutions. If you are unable to obtain copies, be sure to advise your attorney of their whereabouts. Valuable information can be obtained from these applications.

• Contact your medical insurance carrier. Find out what conversion cobra benefits you will be entitled to after the divorce. It is imperative that you do this before the divorce is final as insurance carriers are only required to offer the service within days of the entry of the divorce decree, after that you may not be eligible.

• Open your own bank account if you do not currently have one. Also obtain a major credit card in your name only. Be sure to contact companies, in writing, where you and your spouse share a credit card and notify them that you are separated.

• Always attempt mediation to reach settlement. You are not restricted to one mediation session.

• Never ever, ever, share a divorce lawyer with your spouse.