It is no secret that divorce is often one of the most complex and emotional experiences of a person’s life. While nobody ever wants to entertain the thought of a relationship that was once thought to last forever coming to an end, marriages can break down and spouses can drift apart in their desires and values that it no longer seems possible to maintain a positive relationship. Fortunately, there are several ways that spouses can prepare for an impending separation and minimize the stress they experience during this time of transition.
If you are approaching a divorce, be sure to make the following preparations:
- Run your credit report: It is not uncommon for a divorcing spouse to discover that his or her spouse used their name and good credit to secure loans, credit cards, and other debts without their knowledge. Running your credit history or signing up for a fraud protection service can help you identify any suspicious activity. Finding out about these debts sooner rather than later can be crucial to help ensure you are not held responsible for your spouse’s irresponsible financial decisions.
- Consider opening a PO Box: If negotiations fail and your divorce leads towards litigation, you may want to consider opening a PO Box to prevent against the possibility of your spouse intercepting your mail. This will ensure your communications with your attorney will be confidential and allow you to more easily provide them with the information they need without interference.
- Change your passwords: In the modern world, most people conduct their business on the internet. From bank records to social media accounts, much of the information stored online can be damaging in the wrong hands, especially during divorce. If you are one of the many people who only use a few passwords for multiple accounts, it is important you change your passwords to something new that your spouse will be unable to guess, preferably involving random numbers, letters, or characters. It may even be wise to go the extra mile and suspend or take down all social media accounts and websites until your divorce is finalized.
- Change your beneficiaries: While you may be limited in your actions while your divorce is still underway, be sure to remove your soon-to-be ex-spouse as a beneficiary on important documents such as your life insurance plan, your will, living trusts, and other benefit plans. Otherwise, your spouse will likely inherit the majority of your estate in the event of your death.
- Open a separate bank account: Many married couples have joint bank accounts which grant both spouses access to the funds held within. To protect yourself against the possibility of your spouse raiding your account and leaving you penniless, withdraw half of your funds and place them in a separate account at a different banking institution. It is important to note that you will be required to pay back any amount that is deemed to be your spouse’s share.
- Gather important documents: The process of divorce requires spouses to collect a wide variety of documents in order to determine issues such as asset division, alimony, property distribution, and even child custody. Identify and make copies of real estate documents, credit card statements, bank statements, several years’ worth of income tax returns, pay stubs, investment account statements, retirement account statements, and loan documents. An attorney will be able to help you identify the exact documents you will need. Generally speaking, the more evidence you have, the better.
- Get a physical: Seeking a full medical evaluation is imperative not only to help protect yourself against the negative health effects that the stress of divorce can bring, but also because the courts consider a spouse’s physical health for numerous issues, such as child custody and spousal support.
While these tips can help simplify your divorce substantially, one of the most effective ways to simplify your separation is to retain the services of a knowledgeable advocate. At Adams Law Firm, our Katy family lawyers have been helping spouses pursue amicable solutions for their separations for more than 35 years and can provide the compassionate guidance you need to help you get through this difficult time as smoothly as possible. Backed by an AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® for our exceptional ethical conduct and skill, we have what it takes to ensure your best interests are guarded.