Going through a divorce is bound to be one of the most emotionally challenging moments of your life. While in the midst of it, you may have difficulty seeing the big picture and making the best decisions for yourself, your family, and your finances. But please do not get more overwhelmed with worry than you have to. Your situation will improve and you will be ok.
You may have difficulty seeing the big picture and making the best decisions for yourself, your family, and your finances. Remember, your situation will improve and you will be ok.
In an effort to help you get things on the right path and ensure that you don’t get caught off guard, below is a short list of important steps you can take towards protecting yourself, your family, and your finances as you enter into the divorce process.
1. Get the Best Legal Advice Possible: The most important step that you can take when you are about to go through a divorce is acquiring the best divorce attorney that you can afford. When you obtain an experienced professional that will have your best interests in mind, you will gain:
- An immense amount of information and guidance about the complex laws and statutes that pertain to your particular situation.
- You will also be guaranteed great advice and the comfort of knowing that a good attorney will not let you be caught off guard.
2. Keeping Custody Fair or in Your Favor: In order to guarantee that custody is decided fairly, you are going to want to document how much time you and your spouse spend with the children.
- Make note of any activities that you enjoy with them, who helps with their homework, etc.
- You will want to and should be able to prove to the court that you are just as much of or more of a part of your children’s lives than your spouse.
- You will want to document any negative incidents that have occurred between your spouse and your children, such as threats or inappropriate behavior.
- Unless there is a threat of domestic violence, you will want to stay in the home until adequate custody orders have been put into place. Leaving the children with the spouse will make it appear that you do not care and could have a detrimental effect on how custody is decided.
- Also note, if your spouse ever leaves your home with the children, seek immediate advice from legal counsel.
3. Make Copies of your Records and Take a Personal Inventory: It is very important that you find and make copies of your financial records. By granting your attorney access to these items, it will help them get an understanding of your financial situation, help them build a strategy for your case, and also allow them a chance to speculate on the trial’s overall scope.
- Items such as the last three years of tax returns, your bank statements and any documents pertaining to shared debts will be needed upon your first meeting with a divorce attorney.
- It is also important that you catalog your marital property, along with items that have monetary or sentimental value with a video camera.
- When you are finished, make a copy for yourself and for your spouse so both of you have documentation.
- After you have made copies of your records and the video inventory, make sure to place them in a secure place that only you have access to.
4. Safeguard your Credit and Bank Account: Not in all cases, but in some, an angry spouse will choose to clean out any bank accounts that you share. In order to protect yourself from this happening:
- Withdraw exactly half of the balance of your accounts (if you can prove that you are entitled) and deposit that money into a new account. After all, you are only looking to get what you are entitled to.
- After you have withdrawn the money, write your spouse a letter or call to inform them that you have taken your portion of money from all joint accounts.
- It is also good practice to cancel any joint credit cards. If an angry spouse can clean out a bank account, they can surely make excessive charges to a joint credit card and leave you with half of the financial responsibility.
- Before you cancel, let your spouse know that you are planning to do so. If somehow an excessive amount has already been charged, report the card as stolen and you may only be responsible for the first $50 in charges.
5. Call on Friends and Family as a Support System: It will be very important and comforting for you to reconnect with people that have been there for you in the past. There are plenty of people in your life that would love to take the time to talk you through your time of need.
- Lean on and consult with those loved ones that are there to offer love and advice.
- During this time, friends and family that you trust will not only offer an ear to listen, but will also be the best support system possible.
- Be sure to allow the people that love and care for you to do all that they can to help. Sharing is one of the best ways to help the healing process.