24 Sep 5 Things to Know About Divorce Before Filing
Knowing about the divorce process before it starts will be extremely beneficial in that it can potentially expedite the occurrence of your desired outcome. The following are five things that you should know about divorce before filing:
1. You Will Need an Attorney
This is not something that should be taken lightly. It is recommended that you have a consultation with your attorney (not his paralegal or associate staff) prior to making the determination as to whether the two of you will work well together. What you should be looking for is experience practicing family and divorce law, someone who will fight for you and someone who understands the benefits of developing a Marital Settlement Agreement quickly.
2. Understand Your Finances
A major aspect of the divorce process is the equal division of assets and debts. Therefore, to ensure that you receive your fair share of each, both you and your spouse need to be able to clearly define what you own and what you owe. The debts will not be automatically given to the partner who is responsible for them, they will be divided based on who is more capable of paying them off. To ensure that this division is just, assets and deficits need to be clearly defined. Now is a good time to consider post-divorce budgets for you and your children (if applicable). Your finances may look a lot different after the divorce, and it is never too soon to prepare yourself for a change in lifestyle.
3. Open Your Own Bank Account
After you have examined your financial status, it may be a good time to open a checking account in your own name as it is not uncommon for one spouse to clean out joint bank accounts. After you have done this, be sure to share this information with all who need to know – honesty is very important during a divorce. If you are afraid that your spouse may clean out your joint accounts, you should let your attorney know this. There is a procedure that your divorce attorney can complete that will help you safeguard your assets. It will need to be disclosed on Florida’s mandatory Family Law Financial Affidavit.
It is also very important to keep track of your spending habits while you are going through the divorce. You may be asked to account for any and all purchases you have made during that time, which could influence the outcome of your settlement.
4. Moving out Can Have Negative Effects
If you can remain in the marital home without fear of domestic abuse, it is recommended that you do so. Why? Leaving your home can potentially eliminate any chance that you had of taking possession of the home yourself. Let us give you a common example:
Situation: You move out of your home during the divorce, and your spouse pays the mortgage while you are gone. This can influence the judge’s property distribution decisions.
Solution: If you feel the need to leave the house, discuss it with your spouse and attempt to come up with a payment plan. If you document your contributions well, you may be able to avoid creating bias.
This example is just one of many issues that can arise if you choose to leave the marital home during divorce proceedings. Though there is a possible solution, your best bet is to remain inside the home until your divorce is final, and all property has been distributed.
If you do, indeed, fear that your spouse may harm you in any way, it is important to talk to your attorney. You may be able to have him/her removed from the marital home.
5. Gain a General Understanding of the Divorce Process
There are aspects of the divorce process that you should educate yourself about prior to filing and even some tasks you can begin working on now.
For example, if you and your spouse have already begun bickering about who gets what in regards to furniture, home goods, and more expensive items like art; it may be a good time to begin an inventory list. By taking time-stamped photos of anything and everything, and compiling a detailed list, it will not only be easier to divide assets but you also have time-stamped evidence that these assets exist – just in case your spouse attempts to hide or destroy them.
Another task that you can and should get started on as soon as possible is list making. Being honest is crucial while divorcing your spouse. If there is anything that he/she may not know about, make a list. Whether it is money or other assets, affairs or financial troubles, anything that you are dishonest about can be held against you. Be sure that you think back through the entire marriage and write down anything and everything that you may have kept from your spouse.
There is no substitution for preparation, so get informed and understand these five things before you file for divorce. You can never be too careful.