The arrival of the New Year tends to coincide with a sharp increase in divorce filings. People in Illinois who are planning to pursue a divorce at the beginning of the year should take certain steps before filing.

Although most year-end financial information, such as W-2 forms, may not be available until the end of January or the beginning of February, future divorce filers should begin collecting all of their financial information for their divorce attorney to review. This may include credit card bills, bank statements, previous tax returns and recent paystubs. It is also advisable to obtain a free credit report for oneself and one’s spouse to verify what debts exist.

Reviewing one’s social media and withdrawing from the platforms for a period is also wise. Everything posted on social media, such as statements and photos, may be used by the opposing party in a divorce. Existing social media posts should be edited, and any subsequent posts that are made should not mention the divorce case.

It is also necessary for divorcing individuals to familiarize themselves with the divorce legal procedures in the state in which they reside. There are numerous reliable sources that are available, such as the websites for the state courts or the state’s bar association. Individuals should make a list of questions regarding their unique case so that they can get the most out of the first consultation they will have with an attorney. It may also be beneficial to consider if an alternate form of divorce, such as mediation, may be appropriate for one’s case.

A family law attorney may protect the rights and interests of clients seeking a divorce. A lawyer may review the factors surrounding the end of the marriage and may advise his or her clients about which divorce method may be appropriate.