Preparing for Your Divorce
Usually, when people are on their way to divorce, there are warning signs. More often than not, it is a gradual rather than a sudden transition from happily-married to not.
If you see divorce coming, or even the possibility of it coming, there are six very important steps you can take to protect yourself and your future. (Please note we are not your legal counsel; nor do we represent you. These are helpful hints only)
Step 1: Go See a Lawyer
The single biggest mistake that divorce lawyers see is that potential divorcees wait way too long to seek legal advice. There are things that you can be doing to protect your assets and set up a more favorable outcome in the event you enter the court system.
Compare it to finding out that you might be playing the game of soccer on Saturday. You certainly would want to have someone explain what the rules are before you set foot on the field.
The lawyer will dispel the many myths that exist in the area of divorce. Your lawyer will ask questions about your particular situation and you will be walked through the divorce process and told what your likely outcome is if you go before a judge.
Step 2: Gather Financial Information and Put It in a Safe Place
When your spouse decides that divorce is the only answer to your relationship, he or she may be hiding assets or information. A significant step that you can take is to make photocopies of all financial records that you have and take photographs of all of your personal property. It is amazing how many times the collectible items disappear before they can be accounted for and valued.
The record of these assets can be stored in special “apps" on your mobile device. You can take pictures and add them to your timeline.
Step 3: Don’t Try to Hide Money
Most people who try to hide assets from a spouse do not do a very good job of it. If you get caught having hidden assets, the judge is going to use that to give your spouse a lopsided division of property or not give you the correct alimony ruling. Judges have a great deal of discretion in divorce cases and you always want to appear to be the “good spouse” in the judge’s eyes.
Step 4: Don’t Bad-Mouth Your Spouse to Your Kids or Mutual Friends
It is way too common for divorcing parents to say terrible things about each other in the presence of the children in an effort to get them on their side. The same thing happens when speaking with the mutual friends.
Psychologists will tell you that this may win the children over temporarily, but eventually they will see through your comments and arrive at the opinion that the other parent who behaved properly is the one with whom they wish to associate when they become adults. A similar thing happens with the mutual friends of the spouses.
Step 5: Consider Changing Your Healthcare Directive
In just about every state, there is a document that you can sign that gives someone the right to make important medical decisions in the event that you are in a coma or otherwise unable to direct the physicians. Most people list their spouse as the designated person. You don’t really want to be in a decaying relationship with someone and yet still rely on them to make the right decision. Go ahead and change the designee. You don’t have to tell anyone except the new designee and you can always change it back if you patch things up with your spouse.
Step 6: Record, record and record
Keep a journal and record device at your fingertips. You can record events, create calendars, records texts and send to your attorney if the need arises. Protect yourself and your family.