You’ve decided your marriage is at it’s end. What do you do now…? These concrete steps take you through the best way to prepare for divorce before your even file.
1. Try to avoid a war.
Not every divorce is an ugly battle. Some are a negotiated division of assets and time with the children. Begin by making a “friendly divorce” more likely. For instance, don’t drain all the money out of the bank account, turn the children against the other parent, or embarrass your spouse with the family, friends, employer or coworkers.
2. Protect items of sentimental value.
The easiest way to do this, is by getting those items out of reach of your spouse. Money can frequently be replaced, but your high school yearbook, for instance, probably can’t.
3. Change your passwords and security questions.
Above all, pay particular attention to making sure that your email is secure so that your spouse can’t reset your passwords.
4. Limit your liability
Right now, make sure that your spouse doesn’t have the ability to run up your credit cards. After the divorce is filed, you may not be able to take your spouse off your credit cards, Don’t forget to check things like Amazon accounts, toll roads, i-tunes, etc.
5. Get copies of important documents
If you can get original car titles and life insurance policies, great. On the other hand, pictures or digital downloads of retirement statements, investment accounts, and real estate deeds are all just as good as an original. We can obtain most of these documents through the divorce process if you can’t get them now. However, you can save time and attorney fees if you can get them yourself in advance.
6. Be careful what you say on social media.
After you file, you will likely not be allowed to delete anything you have already posted, so don’t post anything that will hurt you to begin with. For example, don’t trash-talk your spouse or talk about how much better your new relationship is. Assume anything that you put in writing anywhere, including Facebook messenger, just might show up in court.
7. Don’t move out of the house if you want to keep it in the divorce.
To clarify, don’t stay in the house if it’s dangerous, or if you are exposing the children to traumatic arguments. However, if you want the house at the end of the divorce, staying in it during the divorce helps your case.
8. Don’t move away from the children if you want custody of the children in the divorce.
Again, don’t expose the children to traumatic arguments, but if you move out and leave the children behind, it can be viewed as evidence that you are not that interested in having custody of them later.
9. Document your role in your children’s lives.
Do this by keeping track of your children’s extra-curricular activities, and if you attended them. Make notes of conversations or meetings with the children’s teachers, doctors, or their friend’s parents. Keep a journal of the time that you spend doing things with your children.
10. Keep copies of texts, emails, pictures, that lead to the break up of the marriage.
Even if it is painful to look at now, copies of these things can be useful for your divorce attorney later.
Following these steps will help you to prepare for a divorce.
Following these steps can put you in a strong position to negotiate a good settlement, or help position you well for court, if a trial cannot be avoided. Either way, we can help you prepare for your divorce, and ensure that you get the best possible results at the end of it.
To help you apply these principles, you can download a more comprehensive checklist of steps to prepare for divorce here.