Even if you were the one to profess your desire to get divorced, it never seems to come at the right time. But then, divorce wasn’t likely the end game you were planning on when you said, “I do.”

Divorce is mentally challenging. Sometimes, it can be amicable enough that you and your partner call it quits without the slightest adversity. Of course, this outcome is rare. Most often, adversity does arrive. Sometimes it’s minor, other times it manifests into a host of issues and turmoil.

A signature tip to better the outcome of your divorce is to be prepared. If any of the following topics affect you and your post-divorce life, be sure to discuss them, in detail, with your divorce attorney before, during, and after the divorce proceedings.

  1. Property division: This is a touchy subject, especially with high-net-worth couples, but almost all couples deal with property division. For divorcing couples in North Carolina, you would be wise to know that North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, which means the property is divided in a fair and impartial but not always equal manner. When it comes to the marital home, unless given up by one party or the other, the individual whose name is on the deed or title, or who has invested more into the home will begin the proceedings with more claim to the property. When meeting with your attorney, come with a list off all the property and assets that will need to be divided before a divorce settlement can be reached.
  2. Child support: States differ on the guidelines that calculate child support payments, but often, the following items are considered: food, clothes, shelter, health insurance, education, abnormal medical care (if applicable,) visitation and extracurricular costs. Child support is often paid until the child turns 18 but can be extended until the child turns 20 if they are still in high school and is the responsibility of both parents. The payments are determined by a court order or are agreed upon by both parties. To prepare for this step, organize a list of all your child’s expenses. Consider each of the factors above when tracking they’re expenses.
  3. Alimony: Spousal support is another touchy subject, that can differ depending on the couple’s financial situation and length of marriage among other factors. For alimony to take place in North Carolina, one spouse must have a need for support and the other must be able to pay it. If either factor is false, alimony will not take place. Also, in North Carolina, if one spouse commits adultery and the other did not, the adulterous spouse must provide alimony to the dependent spouse, and, if a marriage lasts 10 years or less, the dependent spouse should only expect to receive support for a time equal to half the length of the marriage.
  4. Child custody: This is an aspect of divorce proceedings that can get ugly and often includes mediation. The fact is, in the end, child support is determined by figuring out which living situation is in the best interests of the child, and which situation is best for the child’s emotional and physical well-being. Sole custody and joint custody are possible outcomes. Several factors, ranging from the mental and physical status of each spouse, the child’s relationship with each spouse, and financial and home stability are all factored in when determining custody. If joint custody is ordered, a parenting plan must be created and agreed upon by both spouses. Your best bet to better your custody chances is to show that you and your home environment are stable and well-suited to help raise your child.

Finally, bring the following documents when you meet with your divorce attorney. Any information is beneficial to your cause.

  • Deeds and titles
  • Pre and post-nuptial agreements
  • wills or trusts
  • Power of attorney
  • All financial statements (bank, credit cards, investments, IRA’s, pensions, mortgage, loans, tax returns, etc.)
  • Utility bills
  • Insurance policies
  • Any other documents you would find beneficial to your cause