If you believe your marriage is broken and you and your spouse have even mentioned the possibility of getting a divorce, there are a few steps you should take to protect yourself and your best interests. These include the following:
- Consulting an attorney. First and foremost, speak with a lawyer about your legal options during the divorce process. This will help ensure you don’t do anything that will jeopardize your interests now and in the future.
- Make copies of important documents. Go through all of your files and find your tax returns, retirement account statements, check registers, bank statements, insurance policies, mortgage papers, credit card statements, estate planning documents, auto titles and any other important documents — and make copies of them. All of this information can serve as important evidence during divorce proceedings.
- Take an inventory of all your assets. This should definitely include all major items, like cars, appliances, jewelry, artwork, furniture and anything else of value. Make sure you check any safe deposit boxes or storage areas you have, as well. This may help prevent a concealment of assets on the part of your spouse.
- Pay off as much debt as you can. The division of assets is complicated, and division of debt can be even more so. If possible, you may consider paying off as much debt as you can before the marriage is dissolved. However, this might not be right in every case. If divorce is really imminent you should run this question by a good divorce attorney.
- Start saving your own money. You never know when your spouse will move out and you’ll be on your own financially. Building a nest egg can help you to prepare for life after divorce.
- Make your children your priority. The divorce process is tough enough on kids without upsetting their daily routine, so make sure their lives stay as normal as possible. Never argue with your spouse in front of them — this can cause a lot of emotional trauma for young children.
For more information on the steps you should take before a divorce, meet with a team of skilled Jacksonville attorneys right away.
Attorney Andrea Jevic contributed to this blog post.