Preparing for a Divorce

If you believe that a divorce is imminent, there are things you need to do before a divorce action is commenced.

  1. Set up a post office box for receiving mail that you don’t want your spouse to see and be sure to update your mailing address with your new PO Box address for receiving mail.
  2. Set up a new email address with a unique password you have never used for the purpose of communicating with your friends, family, accountants, attorneys and other people for communications that you do not want your spouse to intercept.
  3.  Open a separate bank account and start putting money into it, in the event there is a risk that your spouse will loot joint checking and savings accounts immediately prior to or during the divorce. Be sure that you use your new PO Box and your new email address from 1 and 2 above when you open your new bank account.
  4. Change your passwords for accounts that you do not share with your spouse, including your cell phone, credit card accounts, bank accounts, retirement accounts, computer logins, and the like.
  5. Continue to contribute to the marital estate as you have always done; whether you have customarily been the one to buy groceries, pay for daycare, pay 1/2 of the mortgage, keep doing it.

Things you should NOT do prior to a divorce action being commenced.

  1. Do not hack into your spouse’s emails or cell phones.  This is illegal and judges frown on it.
  2. If you have children under eighteen years of age, do not report your spouse to the Department of Children’s Services for the purpose of thinking that this will gain you an advantage in divorce court for getting custody of your children.  This will not be an advantage to you, and divorce judges frown on this tactic.
  3. You should not seek a temporary protective order against your spouse for the purpose of thinking that this will gain you an advantage in the divorce; many judges frown on this, and they know why you did it; however, if you are truly a victim of domestic violence, then you need to talk to an attorney.
  4. If you have minor children, do not argue with your spouse in front of them and do not discuss the divorce with the minor child.
  5. Do not cancel your spouse from insurance plans, do not remove your spouse as a beneficiary to your life insurance, retirement plans, etc.  This will be taken care of during your divorce, but courts frown on this type of behavior.
  6. Do not wipe out bank accounts that you share with your spouse.
  7. If there are minor children of the marriage, do not move out of the marital residence and leave the children behind.  Additionally, do not leave the state with the minor children prior to filing for divorce. If you and/or your children are victims of abuse at the hands of your spouse, you need to contact a divorce attorney before you take drastic measures such as this.  Courts frown on people who leave the state with the children before seeking judicial relief.

Contact Burdine Law for a pre-divorce consultation to make sure your interests are protected prior to the divorce case commencing, including protecting your credit and your children during this difficult time. I have been practicing divorce and family law almost exclusively since the Spring of 2009, and I have found that no two divorce cases are the same. We can discuss your unique situation and come up with a pre-divorce plan for you.