There might be nothing worse than realizing your marriage isn't going to work. However, if things aren't working out, it might be time to consider divorce. This is particularly true if you've been trying to work things out, without success. If you've decided to file for divorce, you'll need to make sure that you're able to land on your feet once you begin the process. Here are four steps you should take to protect yourself during a divorce:
Make Copies of Your Important Papers
If you're getting ready to file for divorce, you're going to need to start making copies of all your important papers. Your divorce settlement will be determined by the amount of assets and debts that you and your spouse own together. If you can't provide documentation for those assets and debts, it will be difficult to reach a fair and amicable settlement. You should make copies of the paperwork for every asset you and your spouse own together, and every debt you and your spouse owe together. You should also obtain copies of your most recent tax returns, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies. As well as any investment accounts you own together.
Ensure Your Own Financial Well-Being
When it comes time to file for divorce, you'll need to be able to provide for your own living. This includes having a financial cushion to rely on until you get back on your feet. If you can, you need to open up an individual saving account for yourself and begin depositing money into it. This will give you the necessary money you need to live on once you leave. Don't empty the joint banking account, or you could find yourself in trouble, especially in a community property state. Instead, obtain a printout of your current joint bank account deposit amount, and then transfer half the money into your account. This will allow you to show proof that you didn't empty the account. It will also give you the money you need to start over.
Once you file for divorce, you'll need a place to live. If you're going to rent an apartment, be sure that it's one that you can afford on your own. You don't know how long it will take before you begin receiving spousal support, and you don't want to be dependent on money that you're not receiving yet. If you're planning on remaining in the marital house, make sure you can afford the upkeep before you make your final decision.
Talk to an Attorney
As soon as you decide to file for divorce, you need to talk to an attorney. Your attorney will help you understand the process, and will ensure that no mistakes are made. It's especially important for you to obtain legal counsel if your spouse is going to hire an attorney. You don't want to attempt a divorce on your own when your spouse has their own legal counsel.
Contact local divorce attorneys for more information and assistance.