Divorce, especially for those in long relationships, can be a complicated process both emotionally and financially. Therefore, you should not take it lightly, and you should prepare before filing any court papers. To properly secure your assets and ready yourself, you should do at least eight things.
- Collect Essential Paperwork
Essential paperwork should be collected and refers to financial and marriage records. These items can include but are not limited to any of the following documents:
- Identifying documents
- Financial statements
- Proof of income
- Tax returns
- Mortgage papers
- Prenuptial agreement
- Insurance policies
- Contact a Divorce Attorney
After you have collected all the necessary documentation, you should reach out to a local divorce attorney to discuss all your options. Experienced lawyers will do an excellent job of explaining expectations and helping you understand the potential consequences of a divorce.
- Open a P.O. Box
While you may only be investigating your options, it would be bad for your spouse to see a letter from a divorce attorney in your home mailbox, especially when you aren’t ready. Therefore, opening a P.O. box or having your mail delivered to a trusted family member is a good idea.
- Establish Individual Financial Accounts
You will need a way to pay for your divorce and to secure funds for your future once the divorce has been filed. Therefore, you should open individual financial accounts. Depending on your situation, your lawyer may advise you to remove half of the funds from joint accounts.
- Build Your Credit
If you do not have an established credit history, you should start to build one. Get a credit card in your name or take out a small loan if possible. You may need credit if you have to purchase or rent a new home.
- Secure Information on Computers and Phones
While many spouses share access to mobile phones and computers, it is wise to start securing your digital information. You can do this by password protecting your items or purchasing a new phone and computer and creating new digital accounts.
- Assess Your Investments, Property and Do Not Move
You will need to assess all your investments and determine which are not a part of the marital estate as well as provide proof. Also, do not move unless your lawyer advises. You may risk losing your family home if you do.
- Change Your Beneficiary and Think of Your Children
Your spouse should not be your beneficiary, but your children can be. You need to think about your children. Custody cases can be nasty. Any agreement that can be made amicably is in the best interest of the children.