Deciding that you want to seek a divorce from your partner or learning that your partner wishes to divorce you can be one of the most challenging times of your life. The period following the decision to separate is usually filled with uncertainty and uncontrollable emotions. Things can even be worse if children are involved.
Whether you are ready to accept the divorce or not, there are certain steps you need to take as early as possible to protect yourself, your kids, and your finances. This doesn’t mean you should start emptying the bank accounts and clearing everything from your matrimonial home.
The initial steps must minimize the impact of the lengthy divorce process ahead and safeguard your interests.
Below are some of the things you need to do to protect yourself during a divorce.
1. Hire a Divorce Attorney As Soon As You Can
Don’t commit the mistake of going into the divorce without an experienced divorce attorney to fight for your rights. If you are not sure who to hire as your attorney, speak with several divorce lawyers about your situation before choosing one.
You will want to hire the best attorney you can afford to protect your interests and provide you with legal help throughout the process.
A competitive attorney will provide you with extensive information about the divorce laws pertaining to your particular situation so you can make sound decisions. He/she will explain your rights and help you fill the court documents correctly.
During this stressful period, the attorney will help you make the right choices so that you and your kids can have a better future. With an attorney by your side, you will have peace of mind knowing that an experienced professional is protecting your interests.
2. Cancel Joint Credit Cards
If possible, try to clear your outstanding debts since you will be required to split any debt incurred together while you were married. Therefore, the faster you act, the better. If you can get a second job or go back to school for a short course before the divorce process is finalized, don’t be afraid to do so. This will help you prepare psychologically to start taking care of your expenses.
Canceling your joint credit cards as soon as you learn about the divorce will only take you a few minutes and could save you thousands of dollars in joint debt. However, maintain access to one credit in your name. You can use the card in case of an emergency.
Don’t change the beneficiaries on your insurance policies yet. If you need to get a separate insurance policy from what you currently have, it will happen after the divorce is finalized and restraining orders are issued.
If you have a joint bank account, you and your partner should split it into two separate personal bank accounts or close it altogether. Make sure you inform your attorney of this decision so that everything is put into writing.
3. If You Have Children, Don’t Move Out of the Family Home
Moving out soon may have a significant impact on the child custody battle later. To be on the safe side, stay in the family home for as long as it is safe to do so.
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However, it is critical to recognize when it is no longer safe to continue staying with your partner under one roof. Sometimes, the pending divorce may cause heightened tension, which may lead to fighting in front of kids or domestic violence.
Beware of such scenarios and try as much as possible to minimize friction between you and your partner. Alternatively, consider “time-sharing” the family property with your partner until the custody and divorce issues are finalized.
4. Secure Valuable Personal Property
You will be surprised by how often items of personal value are destroyed by vengeful and ungrateful spouses. Anything that has personal value is at risk of being destroyed during a divorce.
Personal mementos, valuable items, paintings, and other items that cannot be replaced easily, such as coin collections, should be taken out of the family home and stored in a safe place.
However, this doesn’t apply to community property or common possession. It only applies to personal property.
If possible, discuss the matter with your spouse first and let him/her know what you intend to take out of the home.
It is legally acceptable for you to take what is yours and store it wherever you like. This way, you don’t have to worry about your spouse taking property and claiming they “disappeared” or were stolen.
5. Open Yourself Up to Support from Your Family Members and Friends
The truth is that it is difficult to deal with divorce. No matter how strong you think you are, don’t try to keep quiet and avoid your family members and close friends. The stress can easily drive you into depression and other mental issues.
Therefore, it helps to accept help from your family members and close friends who care about you. During this challenging time, having a support system can help you go through a divorce and recover physically, emotionally, and mentally.
If you can’t count on your friends and close friends, feel free to join a support group for people going through a divorce or seek therapy. Keep in mind that this is a significant transition in your life, and it will have a direct impact on your future.
Legal Giant Is Dedicated to Helping You
At Legal Giant, we understand the pain of having to separate from your partner. That is why we are here to guide you through the divorce process and make the transition as smooth and fast as possible. We have a team of experienced divorce attorneys ready to listen to your situation and advise you accordingly.
We offer compassionate and client-focused legal representation, and our primary objective is to protect your rights. Contact us today for a consultation!
Disclaimer: Please note that the information in this article is general in nature and doesn’t constitute professional legal advice and, therefore, should not be relied upon as such.