Divorce is a long process for many couples. Whether it results from years of increasing animosity or comes quickly after a huge disruption, most people know that a divorce is unavoidable for weeks or even months in advance. If you are thinking about divorcing your partner or think that your partner will be filing for a divorce in the near future, there are steps you can take to safeguard yourself to reduce the disruption and headaches a divorce can potentially cause.
1. Copy important documents.
Find all-important family files and get copies of everything. This includes all relevant documents such as insurance policies, bank statements, and other financial accounts. If your spouse is an independent worker, it is important to collect as much information as possible about the company’s finances. Make copies of any financial information on your computer at home.
2. Keep an inventory of household and family items.
List the most important items: furniture, artwork, jewelry, household appliances, cars, etc. Make sure to check your home’s storage areas and your security deposit box for personal belongings. It is important to be aware of all marital assets when it is time to divide the property.
3. Know the budget and expenses of the household.
If possible, go through your last year’s budget and note down the monthly expenses for utility, mortgage, and other household items. Record the money you spend every day so that you can also check your monthly cash flow.
4. Assess how family loans can be managed.
Identify family debt and consider paying it before settling a divorce. Marital debt allocation among divorcing spouses is one of the hardest things to agree on. Decide if any of the debts were incurred by one spouse or the other prior to the date of marriage while taking stock of the debt. This is deemed “non-marital debt “and belongs to the partner who accrued it.
5. Build your own “nest.”
You always need to have access to your own money. If your partner decides to move out and refuses to pay the bills, you have to pay them until you can enter temporary support orders. If you’ll be the one to file for divorce, you will need money for legal fees. Begin saving money and plan to start the divorce process when you have already created your own nest.
6. Place your kids at the top of your priority list.
Keep your kids’ routine as normal and as stable as you can during the divorce. If you and your partner are unable to talk without arguing in front of the kids, set up a schedule where each of you can spend time with them separately. Actively involve yourself in your kids’ extracurricular activities. Most of all, don’t damage your partner’s image to your kids, no matter how contentious things may be.
7. Consult a lawyer.
Learn your rights and privileges. For instance, you may want to move to a new city with your kids. However, your custody agreement may place restrictions on how far you move. Working with a knowledgeable family lawyer will help paint a clear picture for you so you know exactly what you can and cannot do or expect in this process.
Despite any amount of preparation, processing a divorce can be confusing, difficult, and emotional when handled alone. At the Law Offices of Kayleene H. Writer, PLC, we are passionate about helping people while they are going through their difficult family law situations. We would love to talk to you about how we can help with your divorce. Just contact us online or give us a call today at (949) 353-6151.