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30 Mar. 2016

9 Steps Women Should Take in Preparation for a Divorce

Posted By The Buncher Law Corporation

Divorce is never an easy process. For many women, it is difficult to know where to begin with so many changes on the horizon. It is easy to become overwhelmed. Below, we have shared a checklist of important steps to help you feel more in control and get the process underway as smoothly as possible.

  1. Gather all of your financial records. Having all of your financial records together in one place will save you both money and time. Examples of documentation that you should get together include income tax returns, banking information, financial statements, loan applications, brokerage statements, statements pertaining to stocks and bonds, 401(k)/pension plan documents, wills and trust agreements, insurance policies, motor vehicle financing agreements, real property deeds, and mortgage documents. Seek documentation of anything you think may be an asset. It is advisable to keep copies of these documents in a safe place that your spouse does not have access to.
  2. Open a P.O. Box. Opening your own post office box will ensure that your mail will be secured. This will prevent your spouse from obtaining sensitive and confidential documents like communications from your divorce attorney or new credit card and bank account statements. Additionally, you may be able to get your mail faster since it only needs to travel to the post office.
  3. Begin putting money away for attorney fees and other costs. Don’t allow yourself to get into a situation in which you cannot proceed with your divorce because your spouse controls access to the family funds. Not only will this slow the divorce process, but it will also interfere with daily living expenses and could potentially force you into signing a lopsided divorce agreement that favors your husband.
  4. Open up new bank accounts. Immediately set up your own checking and savings account apart from your joint marital accounts. Your lawyer may instruct you to withdraw up to half of your marital funds to place in your new account.
  5. Open up new credit cards in your name. In order to establish your own credit, you may want to open up a credit card in your own name. Having your own card can also help with day-to-day living expenses if other funds are not available during your divorce. Do this before your divorce proceedings begin to ensure that you can obtain sufficient credit, especially if your income is significantly less than your husband’s, or if you are not working.
  6. Review a copy of your credit report. Obtain a copy of your credit report and monitor it for evidence that your husband is improperly dissipating marital assets. It is also a good idea to consider a credit monitoring service that can alert you to any changes in your credit history.
  7. Change your will and living will. You probably don’t want your soon-to-be-ex-husband to inherit all of your assets if you were to die before the divorce is finalized. You also may not want him to make any medical decisions on your behalf. Talk to your attorney about changing your will and living will during your divorce.
  8. Begin inventorying all non-marital property. Begin taking inventory of all of your separate (non-marital) property. Separate property includes any property you owned before the marriage, gifts given solely to you by a third party, and inheritances received solely by you at any time. Since things sometimes tend to go missing during divorce, be sure to take time-stamped photos of everything.
  9. Begin inventorying all joint or community personal property. In addition to making a list of your personal items, it is a good idea to also document all joint property, or property acquired using marital funds. Even if you think your situation is simple, it is essential to inventory your property so that you know exactly what is at stake and whether you have a potential property dispute.

For more information on how to prepare for a divorce, please contact an Orange County divorce attorney at The Buncher Law Corporation. Click here to fill out an online case evaluation form.

Categories: Divorce
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