While it’s possible to have an amicable divorce, the truth is that it doesn’t take much for things to become adversarial. So it’s important to know how to protect yourself in a divorce, as well as take steps to safeguard you and your children.
Consider Staying in the Family Home If You Have Kids
If you move out of the family home, it could impact child custody later. Although staying in the family home may cause additional tension between you and your spouse, you should try to minimize friction. Avoid fighting in front of your children and do not resort to domestic violence or abuse.
Don’t Allow Your Spouse to Leave With the Children
You have just as much of a right to custody of the children as your spouse does. Let your spouse know that they are free to leave, but the children should stay in the family home. You may also consider a “time sharing” situation in the family home until custody and other divorce issues are determined.
Make Copies of Important Documents and Safeguard Personal Papers
During a divorce, you will need to produce an array of legal and financial documents. You will also need many personal documents to manage life after divorce. Gather all of your personal and financial records in one place so that they are safe. You should make two copies of everything and give one to your spouse.
Those documents may include:
- Your birth certificate
- Bank statements
- Real estate records
- Tax returns
- W2 statements
Cancel Jointly-Owned Credit Cards
Let your spouse know that you’re cancelling jointly-owned credit cards. If your spouse goes on a shopping spree and you are not yet separated or divorced, you could be jointly responsible for the credit card debt they rack up.
Take Precautions With Joint Bank Accounts
It’s common for an angry spouse to wipe out a joint bank account. Before that happens, take half of your joint balance and open a new individual account in your own name. Notify your spouse that you’ve taken your portion and make arrangements to pay shared bills.
Make a Record of Marital Property
The court will want a list of all marital property that is to be divided between you and your spouse. You should inventory your entire home and its contents. This can be done via video. Make sure you give a copy to your spouse and store the recording in a safe location. This allows it to be referenced in case things “go missing” from the family home.
Don’t Sign Anything
You should never sign anything without the presence of your lawyer when a divorce is pending. Some people will seek preliminary agreements, which are later referenced in property fights or child custody battles. These should be avoided until the court can make official orders.
Call the Police If Domestic Violence Occurs
Some divorces become volatile. If your spouse threatens or commits domestic violence against you or your children, call the police. You need to have an official record of the situation for later use in court.
Hire a Fresno Divorce Attorney Early
When it comes to knowing how to protect yourself in a divorce, probably the most important thing to remember is how crucial it is to hire an attorney early in the process. Your attorney can guide you through a difficult divorce as well as help you navigate any roadblocks. Call the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks to learn more.