How To Protect Yourself In A Divorce

Cancel all joint credit cards - Although most credit card companies do not allow you to cancel the card without paying the debt in full, you should notify them that you do not wish any more charges to be placed on the card by either you or your spouse. Do this in writing and keep a copy for your files.

Get a credit report - Know what debt is outstanding at the time of the divorce. You don't want to obtain a divorce and fail to assign responsibility for a credit card or other debt, which may cause you to be responsible for the debt without obtaining relief from your ex-spouse.

Contact credit card companies to get statements for the past year or two. You want to know what charges were put on the credit cards. Are there items of worth of which you are unaware? Did your spouse purchase expensive items for a period unrelated to the marriage?

Obtain your own credit card and pay off the balance monthly and on time. This will establish a pattern of good credit, which will be essential when you are on your own. In addition, open your own bank account. Do not deposit money into a joint account, unless you are certain your spouse is doing the same.

Contact Brokerage Companies. Write the companies and notify them that you and your spouse are separated. Ask the broker not to make any transactions without your approval. Do this in writing and retain a copy for your files.

Gather all financial information, bank statements, financial statements, etc.... Know how much money is in your marital estate. Know how much is in each account during the course of the marriage, at the time of separation and at the time of the divorce proceedings. This will help you track funds to determine that your spouse is not hiding funds.

If there is violence in the home, obtain an order of protection. An order of protection will provide you a variety of remedies, such as having your spouse removed from the home, granting one party possession of the children, setting a visitation schedule, awarding support and other types or relief. This could be a quick solution to the otherwise lengthy process of divorce.

If you have children, there may be disagreements about custody and parenting time, therefore, make sure you keep a journal. Because custody often hinges on who was the primary custodian of the children, document everything such as who wakes the children, makes them breakfast, takes them to their school and doctor appointments. Document fights you have with your spouse. Document discussions you have with the children. Document the items you purchased for the children. On the other hand, be careful in who you confide, you do not want to see your best friend testifying for your soon to be ex-spouse.

Do not involve your children in conversations, arguments or decisions about them. Do not put your children in the middle of you and your spouse.

Time your divorce properly. If you have been married to your spouse for ten years and you don't remarry, you are eligible for benefits from your ex-spouses Social Security benefits when you both reach age 62. Also be aware of the tax consequences of obtaining a divorce before or after the end of the year.

Obtain a good attorney. Do not let your spouse convince you that you do not need a lawyer. You do need a lawyer to advise you about the law, your rights and your best interests. Do not let your spouse convince you that you can use the same lawyer. This is not true, as one attorney cannot represent two parties to a divorce as it is a conflict of interest. Any attorney hired by your spouse will be looking out for your spouses' and not your best interests. You may be giving up rights you didn't even know you had. Find an attorney with whom you are comfortable. Take notes when you talk to your lawyer. When you have questions or ideas, write those down to discuss with your attorney. The more organized you are, the less time you will take with your attorney, and the less expensive the process may be.