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Couples who feel as though their marriage is heading towards divorce, may want to start taking steps to help protect themselves before the separation officially begins. When people hear stories about divorce, rarely does someone say how easy and smooth the process was. In most cases, divorce can be both a heart-wrenching and time-consuming thing to go through. One of the best ways that spouses can prepare for a divorce, is to talk with a family law attorney.
It is important to be aware of potential road bumps that may arise, in addition to making preparations before a divorce petition has even been filed. Here are some steps you may want to take if you have a gut feeling that your marriage is inching towards ending:
Copy Financial Documents
Create a file of important documents, including items like bank statements, tax returns, investments, life insurance policies, credit card dues, wills, trusts, social security statements, car titles, and anything else related to your finances or property. Make copies of these documents and share them with your family law attorney, so he or she has an idea about what your current financial status looks like and what property may be fought for during the divorce.
Examine Your Credit History
If you do not have any credit cards in your own name, it may be a good time to apply for and utilize them now. If you do not have a credit history, establish some if you can before the divorce. If you have outstanding debts, try to pay these off to improve your credit rating. If you have to move out and find another place to live, it can limit your options if you don’t have any credit established or have a lower rating.
Seek Advice Regarding Shared Debts
If you and your spouse accumulated shared debts during the marriage, inform your family law attorney. One of the most difficult and strenuous disputes among divorcing spouses is whether debt was incurred by one spouse more-so than the other, and how it shall be split between the two of you after separation. Your attorney can review state laws to see how you may be impacted by shared debts, along with implementing strategy to help prevent you from paying for debts that your spouse was mainly responsible for.
Take an Inventory of Household Items
During the divorce process, negotiations over who keeps what property (including the home and what is within it), is likely to be a top priority for spouses. Take an organized inventory of what is currently in your home, such as furniture, jewelry, appliances, vehicles, art collections, and any other personal treasures. Write down a list of these items along with receipts or estimates of value. Remember to check storage units or safety deposit boxes for valuables too.