If you’ve decided that you are going to pursue divorce, it’s important that you take immediate steps to secure your future. The process of divorce can be long, complicated, and contentious – so it’s important that you take steps today to ensure the best possible outcome.
Below are several steps that I recommend in most cases – but please contact me immediately if you’d like to discuss your case further!
Get a post office box. This permits your lawyer and others to communicate with you confidentially during the divorce process. It also allows you to start maintaining a separate financial identity by providing a place to receive bank account and credit card information without your spouse having access. Knowing that your mail is being delivered to a locked box accessible only to you also provides important peace of mind.
Change beneficiaries on any financial or insurance accounts and change your will. If something happens to you during the divorce, your spouse may inherit all your assets. Usually you aren’t allowed to completely disinherit your spouse before you’re divorced, but you can keep your spouse from inheriting all of your assets. Don’t forget to change a living will if you have one, as you probably don’t want your estranged spouse making medical decisions for you.
Collect financial records. Gather all the financial records you might need, make copies, and put them someplace safe. That might be a relative’s house or a safe deposit box. Having financial records ready can save a lot of time during the divorce. These may include income tax statements, information about current income, bank statements, brokerage statements, property deeds, information about vehicles, and business paperwork.
Get a checking and savings account in your name only. It’s important that you have a secure account to store your money. You should choose a bank separate from the bank at which your spouse and you have checking or savings accounts.
Get a credit card in your name only. If you are not working–or if you have other reason to expect short-term cash flow problems–you need to do this as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may find yourself unable to pay the bills during the divorce process, before your settlement is determined.
Divorce can be a very difficult process, and it is important to stay cool and not let emotions get the better of you. Don’t panic – but do take immediate steps to secure your future. I understand how challenging this process can be, and I’d love to help you through this time. Contact me today at (305) 984-4287. I look forward to hearing from you!