If you feel like your marriage is coming to an end, then you might be stressed about the steps you need to take to protect your interests, especially if you’ve never been involved in the divorce process before.
You might want to dissolve your marriage as quickly as possible to reduce conflict and move onto the next chapter of your life, you may need to slow down and make sure you’re taking the right pre-divorce steps to protect yourself during the marriage dissolution process.
Steps to take before filing for divorce
Before taking any formal action to end your marriage, you need to be adequately prepared. This means doing each of the following:
- Making sure divorce is the answer: Divorce is a decisive step in its own right, and merely threatening marriage dissolution can have tremendous ramifications. Therefore, before talking to your spouse about divorce you should carefully consider if it’s the right move for you. You only want to act if divorce is the right answer, otherwise your spouse might take action that puts you at a disadvantage.
- Gathering relevant documentation: During the property division process, you should receive your fair share of the marital estate. But you’re not going to know what falls into that estate unless you have a full understanding of the assets in play. You certainly don’t want to allow your spouse to get away with hiding assets from you or claiming that marital assets are actually individually owned and therefore removed from the property division process. Therefore, gather bank statements, retirement account information, estate planning documents, mortgage information, and property titles so that you’re armed with the information needed to protect your claim to those assets.
- Building up financial reserves: Your finances are going to tighten during the divorce process. To ensure you have some stability and flexibility, be sure to save three or four months’ worth of reserves.
- Establishing your own lines of credit: Once you move for divorce, your spouse is probably going to cut you off from their lines of credit. This could leave you in a bind, especially if you’re cash strapped. Having your own independent lines of credit can give you a little bit of relief when you need it.
- Creating an exit plan: If your spouse is abusive and violent, then you need to be careful with how you break the news of divorce and physically separate from your spouse. This will require careful planning and knowledge of the resources available to keep yourself safe.
- Thinking about employment and living arrangements: If you’re going to be leaving the family home when you separate from your spouse, or if you don’t currently work, then you’re going to need to make plans for where you’ll live and how you’ll have income once you file for divorce. You might need to stay with friends or family and seek out employment until your case resolves.
- Finding support: Your divorce is going to be emotionally draining. You can make the process a little easier, though, by surrounding yourself with those who care about you and will stand up for you when needed.
Are you ready to develop your divorce strategy?
If so, then it might be time to find a caring ally who is willing to stand up for what you deserve. After all, there’s a lot at stake in your divorce, and anything less than your best legal arguments could have negative implications for your financial positioning and your time and relationships with your children. So, consider taking the steps mentioned above, focus on yourself and your children, and steel yourself for the aggressiveness that you’ll need to display to protect your interests.