Even if you know that your marriage is in bad shape, you may not expect your spouse to file for divorce. Should this happen, it’s important to learn more about the process and the steps you can take to protect your legal rights.

Proper preparation can go a long way in easing the stress and bad feelings that are typically associated with divorce. Here are some of the most important questions to answer at this trying time in your life:

  • What happens to the family home? This depends on a variety of factors, including whether or not you actually want to stay in the home. There are many options, such as selling the home and splitting the proceeds or one person buying out the other’s interest. Once you know if you want to stay in the home, you can decide on a strategy.
  • What happens to joint debt? This has the potential to be a sticking point in your divorce, as neither of you will want to take on more joint debt than you have to. This can include everything from credit cards to personal loans. It’s important that you protect your rights so that you don’t take on more joint debt than you should.
  • How will divorce affect your relationship with your children? This varies from case to case, and depends largely on who gets physical custody and who has visitation rights. Regardless of the situation you’re thrust into, don’t lose sight of the fact that you can still remain a big part of your children’s lives. As you answer this question, you can also address matters surrounding child support.
  • Will you have to go back to work? For example, if you were a stay at home mom or dad, divorce may lead you back to the workforce. If you’re concerned about this, create a budget so you can clearly take into consideration future income and expenses.

These are just some of the more important questions to answer if your spouse files for divorce. As you answer these, others will move to the forefront.

Divorce is complicated on many fronts, but when you understand your legal rights you can attack every last detail with confidence.