When it comes to considering divorce, you need to know what to do prior to filing your case. The following should assist in the preparation for a divorce as well as making sure your financial needs are protected as the divorce commences and proceeds. The more on top of these issues you can be before your file, the easier it will be for your attorney to understand the nature of your case. Read on to learn more.
1. Put Money Aside
As divorces can be very expensive (even more so if you want to hire the services of an attorney) it is vitally important to start saving money now, so you are able to meet all of your obligations once the divorce has been finalized. Consider saving ‘cash’ and placing in a safe place so that you know your spouse will not take the funds.
2. Open Another Account
Opening an individual and a separate bank account is a very wise idea and if you receive a paycheck have it (or at least a portion of it) deposited into this new account where your spouse does not have access to the funds. While the money is likely still community property, at least you have direct control over the cash flow before you file the case.
3. Watch Spending
It will be a requirement to reduce your expenses that are not essential. Now is not the time to make significant purchases or buy gifts and presents as the divorce preparation is underway.
4. Joint Accounts
It is time to close any joint accounts you have. If credit cards are jointly held by your spouse and yourself, it is time they were canceled or the name of one of the partners be taken off the account. In the case of a joint bank account, consider splitting the money and then closing the account to invest in your own individual account. Change online passwords for banking on the day you file.
5. Family Finances
It is paramount to keep a good track on the finances of your family. This should include the income of both spouses as well as debts, expenses and assets.
6. Financial Documentation
Start making copies of financial documents that will be important. In this, include pay stubs, bank account statements and credit card statements, as well as receipts for significant purchases you have made and tax returns. If your spouse “keeps you in the dark” on finances, its time to get wise, ideally before you file.
7. Protecting Documents
It is wise not to keep your financial documents at home. Consider opening a safe deposit box with yourself as the only name on the box as well as being the sole keyholder. Alternatively, you may use the home of a trusted family member. Down the road, the documents may be of great importance as you go through the many aspects of the divorce process.
8. Tracking Child Interaction
Tracking important information now such as writing down who takes your child or children to their extracurricular interests and other important appointments may be of great benefit if you are anticipating there to be a dispute for the custody of your child or children.
9. Police Records
If there are any drug evaluations or police reports that may indicate one spouse should not have custody of your children – it is important to keep this documentation secure and away from home. If you don’t have copies, go back to the local police station and ask for duplicates.
10. School Details
Contact the schools your child or children attend and get records of which parent attended conferences with teachers as well as attending school functions. This may be a key to establishing how much you are involved in the lives of your child or children.
11. Stay Put
Although it may be tempting do not move from the home and reside elsewhere unless there is violence in the current home. Above all, try to stay with your child or children in the home until the divorce is finalized. Courts on occasions will consider this and give more parenting time to the parent who does this when it comes to awarding custody.
12. Divorce Attorneys
Now is the time to look for and establish a relationship with a divorce attorney. Try several different attorneys and maybe ask for recommendations from your friends. Feeling comfortable with your choice of divorce attorney is a key ingredient to success. It’s a lot like choosing a doctor, or therapist, there must be mutual comfort and respect.
13. Financial Planning
Make some appointments to see some financial professionals at the outset of your divorce process – this may include a financial planner and/or an accountant. These financial specialists can help you with the upcoming economic outcome of your divorce once it is finalized.
14. Emotional Well-Being
The divorce process can take a huge toll on your emotional well-being. Consulting with a therapist can really help maintain your health and taking the time to speak to a child therapist will also assist in making your children feel as less stress as possible as the divorce proceeds.
Source: Gambone, Angie. “How to Prepare for Divorce While Married.” LegalZoom Legal Info, 18 July 2016, https://info.legalzoom.com/prepare-divorce-married-25040.html.
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*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.