14 Critical Steps to Protect Yourself when Contemplating your Divorce.
Divorce is stressful and often traumatic. Preparation can help you avoid common emotional mistakes and self-inflicted damage.
14 Critical Steps to Protect Yourself when Contemplating your Divorce.BEFORE STARTING DIVORCE
• HAVE “THE TALK” WITH YOUR SPOUSE
o Think about what you'll say. Be calm and discuss your decision in a non-confrontational tone and setting.
o If you have children, make sure to discuss all the topics regarding your kids. How you intend to tell them is essential to consider. How are you going to describe the problem and how will you help them handle the decision emotionally? With whom will the children live? What about visitation? Talk about who will cover individual expenses for your children.
• A PLACE TO LIVE, A BUDGET AND OTHER DETAILS FOR SEPARATING.
o Prepare a budget of your monthly, weekly and yearly expenditures to ensure you can manage your living arrangements.
• CONSIDER A POST OFFICE BOX AND A NEW G-MAIL (EMAIL) ACCOUNT
o If you are moving to another home, obtain a post office box and change billing and mailing addresses for relevant accounts.
o Start a new email account and change all passwords.
• SAVE MONEY FOR LEGAL AND OTHER PROFESSIONAL FEES
o Often, one spouse was the primary wage-earner while the other primarily managed the household. Those spouses that did not earn an independent income often cannot access funds to move ahead with their divorce because the wage-earner controls all access to the family funds.
STARTING THE DIVORCE
• HIRE A LAWYER
o Find at least three lawyers. Research their backgrounds and interview them to determine the right fit.
• COLLECT & ORGANIZE YOUR FINANCIAL PAPERWORK.
o Gather financial documents including bank account statements, tax returns (personal & business), retirement account statements, titles, deeds, credit card statements.
• OBTAIN YOUR CREDIT REPORT
o Sometimes a spouse may use your credit without your knowledge. Therefore it makes sense to obtain a free copy your credit report to understand obligations for which you might be liable.
• ESTABLISH YOUR CREDIT BY OBTAINING CARDS IN YOUR NAME ALONE
o You will need money during your divorce! There is a possibility that your spouse will no longer support you and until the court intervenes, you will need access to funds.
DURING THE DIVORCE
• OPEN A NEW CHECKING AND SAVINGS ACCOUNT
o You should set up new checking and savings accounts as close to the commencement of the divorce as possible.
• GET SOME SUPPORT (FROM FRIENDS, THERAPIST, COUNSELOR OR PSYCHOLOGIST)
o Speak with your family and friends and discuss your divorce whether contemplated or ongoing.
• IT'S OK TO BE SINGLE FOR A WHILE
o Don't begin a new relationship. Put this element of your life on hold until after the paperwork is complete.
• CREATE A DIVORCE FOLDER AND AN ONLINE DROPBOX ACCOUNT
o Try to keep it organized so you can find documents for your emotional, financial or legal specialists.
• PERSONAL ITEMS
o If you're leaving your home, which is usually NOT recommended unless you or your children are in physical danger, take any personal things like jewelry photographs or papers that have meaning.
• CHANGE YOUR WILL, HEALTH CARE PROXY AND MEDICAL DIRECTIVES/LIVING WILL
Disclaimer / Attorney Advertising
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.
• CHANGE YOUR WILL, HEALTH CARE PROXY AND MEDICAL DIRECTIVES/LIVING WILLYou may no longer want your soon-to-be ex-spouse making any decisions on your behalf. You also don’t want him or her to inherit all of your assets should you die before your divorce is final. Most states will not allow you to disinherit him until after the divorce granted and filed and as a result, you should consult with your attorney as to what options are available to you.