If you are in the early stages of the divorce process this is likely a stressful time. But there are things you need to keep in mind when starting this process. There are some tried and true tips that will help you stay organized and ensure you protect yourself.
Here are our 10 tips for those thinking of divorce or getting a divorce.
1: TALK TO A LAWYER FIRST
Don’t compromise your position and save significant attorney’s fees by taking the right steps from the beginning.
2: DON’T LEAVE THE HOME
If you leave, your spouse can have you arrested if you return. Leave only if you have safety concerns.
3: STAY CALM, COOL, AND COLLECTED
Maintain civility toward your spouse. Don’t liquidate your assets, doing so may cause tax consequences. Also, don’t impose a financial hardship on your spouse during the course of a separation as it can be used against you in Court.
4: COPY ALL FINANCIAL RECORDS
Make copies of all your records, including, but not limited to: tax returns (5 yrs), pay stubs, mortgages, credit cards, bank statements, insurance, legal documents, etc.
5: INVENTORY ALL PERSONAL PROPERTY
Make a list and take pictures of all valuable items (furniture, household goods, collectibles, etc.). If possible, use video to record all contents of the house. Don’t forget about safe deposit boxes, storage units, the garage, etc.
6: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT
Leave with the items you brought into the marriage, or anything that may have a sentimental value. Getting personal property back at a later point may be extremely challenging.
7: UNDERSTAND JOINT FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS
Limit your liability by fully understanding the extent of joint financial obligations (credit cards, loans, etc.). It may be wise to close any joint credit accounts, but you should discuss this with your lawyer prior to taking action.
8: REMOVE YOURSELF FROM UTILITIES
Call utility companies and have your name removed from joint accounts Notify your spouse of this so they have an opportunity to re-establish the accounts in their name.
9: ESTABLISH A PERSONAL BANK ACCOUNT
It is okay to transfer a reasonable amount of money from joint bank accounts in order to establish a personal account.
10: DON’T FORGET ABOUT DIRECT DEPOSIT
Make sure your income is not deposited into a joint account, but into your personal account. Ensuring a clear delineation of income will protect your post-separation earnings.
This guest post comes from White Oak Legal – Divorce Lawyer Wake County.