Divorce: Preparing to Separate in Northern Virginia

While the in court divorce process begins with filing an initial pleading, before filing for a divorce a party should do some pre-planning. First, it is useful to collect as many financial documents for about a five year time period as possible. These documents should include Virginia state and federal tax returns, income statements, retirement statements, bank accounts of all types (checking, savings, 40lk, money market, etc.) and debt related documents (such as credit card statements, personal loans, car loans and mortgage statements). If the party will be the one moving from the marital home, that party should secure a new place to live, decide what he or she will take with him or her, and arrange for help to pack up and move in a single day, preferably when the other party is not home. It is useful to assume whatever property is left in the marital home once moving out the moving party will not likely see again as things have a way of disappearing over time. Before moving out and immediately following the move, the moving party should take photographs of everything in the home and everything that remains in the home, as well as everything that the moving party is taking. Once a party has removed everything that this party intends to take, that party should leave a note for the remaining party and leave all keys. When deciding what to take, the moving party should remove anything that he or she brought into the relationship, anything that was purchased prior to the marriage, anything that was personally gifted to that party and anything that the party inherited or received from a family member.

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