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Preparing for Divorce

Preparing for Divorce


Steps for Preparing for Divorce



What Steps Should I Take to Prepare for Divorce?



There are different numbers of steps you should towards preparing for divorce depending on the type of divorce you’re thinking about.  If the divorce is simple and you and your spouse have agreed to seek a Collaborative divorce or similar measure, you won’t have to follow as many steps for preparing for divorce.



However, if you know you’re going to be involved in a difficult divorce, you need to make sure you go through all of the following steps listed below for preparing for divorce.  A family law attorney may suggest more steps, but this article is to prepare you before you go a lawyer.  The steps are, but limited to:



1) Hire an attorney as soon as possible.  This is often the most important step in preparing for divorce.  You may think you can represent yourself, but if your spouse hires a lawyer, you are highly unlikely to win a case by yourself.  



2) Check your accounts and credit reports as much as possible.  You don’t want your spouse hurting your credit or withdrawing a substantial amount of money out of the joint marital accounts.  



3) Start gathering copies of important documents like account balances, account numbers, the addresses and contact information of your creditors,  tax returns, birth certificates, wills, and any other documents you or your lawyer think you may need.  



4) Open a separate bank account and keep track of your utilities and other liabilities.  You’ll want to transfer what you and your lawyer think is a reasonable amount of money to your separate account and still leave some money in the joint account.  You’ll want to stop direct deposits to your old account and transfer the payments to the new account as well. 



5) Don’t let your spouse move out of the house with the children.  If your spouse still wants to move out of the house, suggest that he or she can move out but have to leave the children.  If they refuse, you need to seek court action as soon as possible in order to create a temporary order while preparing for divorce.  



6) Some lawyers suggest getting a new cell phone and email address in certain cases.  It’s often illegal for your spouse to hack into your email accounts or phone and use that evidence in court, but their lawyer may be able to justify the action in certain cases.  



7) Don’t let the divorce distract the duties you have for your job.  If you have children, you can’t afford to lose your job during a divorce.  A lack of financial stability will cause you to lose your rights as a custodial parent.  Keep track of your spouse’s employment status as well.  You should also know the name of their business or employer and the people they associate.  If they are illegally obtaining income in any way, you should notify the court of this evidence immediately.  



8) Don’t talk to anyone about any new relationships you may have.  If a judge finds out you have a new relationship, your income from spousal support will be affected, and your child custody rights may be in danger.  Stay off of social networking websites or cancel your accounts all together—at least for the time being.