Here are Six To-Do’s when Facing a Divorce in the New Year.
It is a new year and you may be thinking about your personal life and the possibility of getting a divorce. Here are 6 things to prepare for:
1. Begin Gathering Financial Information – emotions will run high at onset of divorce and you need to protect yourself. This will be especially true if your spouse is caught off guard, they could cut off access to credit cards, drain joint accounts and take documents from your residence.
Pull bank statements for the past few years, tax returns, retirement statements, credit card statements, etc. Not only are these typically the first documents that any competent family lawyer will request from you but these also contain information that will be essential to determining the existence of certain assets, the value of your community estate, and your relative access to liquid funds.
2. Secure Liquid Funds, if Possible
Create a bank account in your name only and make sure you have enough money for living expenses and your lawyer’s initial retainer. If your spouse did not allow you access to financial accounts during your marriage figure that during a divorce that behavior could become worse.
3. Create a Monthly Budget
Sit down and look at what your expenses are and what is coming in. Have you been living beyond your means? This exercise will tell you what you can and (must afford) during the divorce process. It also will help you realize what the liquidity you need to meet expenses after the divorce.
4. Before filing, Consider Preparing Your Family for the Divorce
When possible, it is better to talk to your spouse about your decision. This will help you create a united front for your children as well as family and friends. This can avoid broken relationships with friends and riffs with families.
Sometimes the relationship with your spouse is so contentious that you cannot do so, and you must serve papers directly to your spouse. Warning children and family prior to the papers can be disastrous in the short term for you financially.
5. Change Your Passwords and Get your Own Accounts
Separate your cloud accounts. Change your passwords on Social Media Accounts, Phones, Email Accounts, Bank Accounts etc. Any joint cloud-based accounts will be something your spouse can monitor.
Consider setting up a new email account with unusual password on a device that only you can access. If you are on a shared family plan disengage yourself from that. Buy a new phone in your name and set it up in a separate plan. That way your spouse can not see who you are calling, and you can keep in touch with your lawyer, family and friends during the divorce.
6. Mind Your P’s and Q’s
Be aware that anything you post on social media will be used in court. Also, the amount of time you spend on these accounts will be monitored. You don’t want to appear you are more interested in spending time on documenting your life than you do spending quality time with your children.
Also be aware that verbal communication with family, friends and co-workers could make their way into court. Yes, these people could be called in court as witnesses.
Assume that each of your conversations will be recorded by your spouse. Be sure that you record on your side as well. All these precautions will keep you well positioned once the divorce process gets under way.
Divorce can be an extremely difficult time for all of the parties involved but with the right guidance and divorce counsel from Amaral & Associates we can help you start the next stage of your life. Contact us today at (617) 539-1010