Tips to protect yourself During Legal Separation or Divorce
When you first discover that your spouse is filing for a divorce, it might come as a surprise or be a long-expected issue. Either way, there are essential steps you must take to protect your children (if any), assets, and yourself. This does not mean that you should empty the family bank accounts and transfer ownership of all rights.
The specific steps you take should be reasonable and intended to protect your interests and rights. For example, you can seek expert help with your uncontested divorce case as a way to protect your rights during the divorce process. Other tips to protect yourself include:
If you have kids, it’s best to stay in the family home.
Did you know that moving out too soon might impact your ability to get custody of the children later? It’s important to understand that in some circumstances, staying in the family home might increase tension between you and your partner, and this could lead to domestic violence. So, if you choose to stay in your home, beware of this and do everything you can to minimize friction and instances of disagreements.
Don’t allow your partner to take the kids and leave.
Your partner doesn’t have more rights to take the kids from the family home than you do. Ensure that your partner understands if they want to leave, they are free to go, but the kids can stay. If you are afraid disagreement could arise if you stay together in the home, create a different plan. It’s best to implement a time-sharing plan until the divorce and custody issues are fully settled. This is likely to ease tensions in the family.
Consult with a lawyer
If you and your partner cannot agree on some issues in your legal separation or divorce, the chances are that you might end up in court. In this case, you will need an experienced divorce lawyer to represent you. Remember, family law is complicated and involves different aspects.
Perhaps you and your spouse have agreed on a peaceful property division but can’t agree on custody of the children. You need a lawyer to help you figure out such issues. So it’s best to do online research and find an attorney who can handle your case successfully.
Keep your records properly and make copies of all important records.
Once you learn that your spouse is filing a divorce, it’s essential to gather all your personal records, such as educational certificates, birth certificates, and other personal documents. If you have jointly-owned records such as deeds, tax returns documents, bank statements, and real estate records, make copies of everything and store them in a safe location.
Secure your valuable assets
If you have a coin or stamp collection or other valuable personal items, it’s recommended to find a safe place away from your home to store them. Personal mementos and other items that are irreplaceable should be stored safely away from your home. Remember, this applies to your personal property only, not community property or common possessions.
Cancel the jointly owned credit cards
Talk to your spouse let them know that you plan to cancel the credit cards before doing so. It takes about 10 minutes to cancel a credit card, and in that period, your spouse could charge more than 4000 dollars on them. If that card is jointly-owned and you’re not separated or divorced, there is a good chance you and your spouse are going to be responsible for that debt.