30 May How To Prepare For Divorce (from a DC Divorce Lawyer)
While divorce is common, that does not diminish the impact it can have on an individual’s life. If you plan to initiate a divorce, or you suspect that your spouse is about to ask for one, you need to take the proper steps to protect your legal and financial interests. By planning ahead of time, you can increase the chances that you will end up with a divorce settlement that is favorable to you.
We understand that the thought of planning ahead for divorce may make some people feel guilty. Remember that planning ahead does not mean scheming to find ways to hurt your spouse in a divorce settlement–it simply means working to protect your own interests and rights in the event that your spouse challenges them. This is not cruel, it is merely proactive.
As experienced Washington, DC Divorce Lawyers, we help people protect their interests in divorce cases every single day. Here are some steps we recommend you take to protect yourself prior to a legal separation.
Get In Touch With An Attorney
If you have decided you want to ask for a divorce, or you strongly suspect your spouse is planning to ask you for one, consulting with an attorney is the very first thing you should do. Before you or your spouse initiate a divorce, an attorney at a reputable law firm will assess your circumstances, providing you with the introductory legal guidance you need. An attorney can help you review any issues you’re concerned about, ranging from child support and spousal support to division of marital property. Every struggling couple’s situation is unique, which is why it is crucial to have a lawyer assess your circumstances before you initiate a divorce.
Get Your Papers In Order
If you want a successful divorce settlement, it is critical that you document everything. The last thing you want is to have to dig around for legal and financial documents during the divorce process. You will need to assemble bank documents, health insurance information, tax documents, marriage certificates, and many other documents. Be sure to keep multiple physical and digital copies of everything, so nothing gets lost or buried.
Take Inventory Of Your Finances
Do not wait until the divorce starts before you begin taking stock of your financies–look over everything as soon as possible. You will need to look at your investments, bank accounts, 401k/Roth IRA, and anything else that you and your spouse will need to keep separate from one another. The moment you have a detailed sense of what your financial situation is like, check to see if it is possible or feasible to separate your accounts. Once your divorce begins, you and your spouse will likely need separate bank accounts and credit cards, both for privacy and independence. For precise details on how to do this, consult with a reputable family lawyer.
Take Inventory Of Your Digital Footprint
When you and your spouse were on better terms, you may have agreed to share a lot of personal information, including passwords for e-mail and social media, PIN numbers, etc. While this arrangement may have helped build trust during your marriage, it poses a threat to your interests during the divorce process. That is why you need to alter all of your passwords as quickly as possible. Make sure your smartphone has a new PIN, or that it exclusively uses fingerprint identification. Keep in mind that if you and your spouse are on the same phone plan, your spouse may be able to see which phone numbers you have been calling. If you believe your spouse may be looking at your call history, make divorce related calls on a burner phone or via an application like Skype or Google Voice. Finally, because information on social media can be used in divorce cases, you may want to take a break from social media, or even disable your Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Save And Budget
Divorce can be expensive, so it’s important to start saving and budgeting as soon as you can. After taking inventory of your finances (as we suggested above), it’s time to decide what your new budget will look like. Decide how much will go toward divorce related costs, savings, rent/mortgage payments, your children’s expenses, etc. Save as aggressively as possible.
Support Your Children
One of the biggest concerns people have about divorce is the impact it has on children. To mitigate the difficult emotional impact divorce may have on your children, it’s important to show you’re fully committed to them, both before and after you separate from your spouse. Show genuine interest in your children’s schoolwork, extracurricular activities, hobbies, and interests. You need to make sure your children understand that even though you’re no longer committed to your spouse, you will always love and support them. And when the time does come to tell them you’re going to divorce your spouse, you need to tell them that directly.
Are you in need of a Washington DC Divorce Lawyer? Super Lawyers, the legal ranking division of Reuters, has listed the Pawnee Davis Law Firm as a Top Rated Firm in the Tristate Area–a distinction that only 2.5% of law firms in the area are qualified to receive. Our attorneys are experts in all aspects of family law, and we are ready to harness that expertise to your benefit.