Over my years of practice with divorce and separation, I have found that clients that are educated in how to handle certain situations are generally more prepared for what I have to tell them. I have created the following list of 13 Ways to Avoid the Pain and Expense of Divorce. This list is in no way complete and there may be things on this list that don't actually apply to you or your situations.
1. FIND AN EXPERIENCED LAWYER YOU CAN TRUST - Confidence and trust are especially important in divorce matters. Make certain your lawyer is experienced in family law.
2. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS - Talk with an experienced family lawyer. Be sure to tell him all of the facts of your situation along with any worries that you might have. You may also want to let him know what you need the most. Make a detailed list of questions and concerns you have.
3. DO NOT MOVE OUT OF THE MARITAL RESIDENCE - Moving out of the marital residence may result in additional issues such as abandonment or create a less than favorable situation for you if you are financially dependent on your spouse.
4. PROTECT YOUR MONEY AND YOUR CREDIT - Take the appropriate measures to prevent your spouse from taking money from joint accounts or making unnecessary credit charges. Make sure you set aside enough money to tide you over until property and support matters can be settled.
5. INVESTIGATE YOUR FINANCES - It is important to know what you have and what you owe. Make copies of all financial records and keep them in a safe place until you can give them to your lawyer. Your cell phone is not a safe place to store information. This can save you legal and accounting fees.
6. TAKE A PICTURE OF EVERYTHING IN YOUR HOME - Once the love is gone, it is not long until your possessions may start to disappear as well. Take a picture of everything in your home that has a value of $50.00 or more. Make sure you keep these pictures in a safe place, preferably outside of the home.
7. REMOVE YOUR PERSONAL ITEMS - Items that can be pawned or sold easily should be removed from the home and kept in a safe place.
8. AVOID ARGUMENTS WITH YOUR SPOUSE - If you and your spouse are unable to discuss matters calmly, wait until a later time or let your lawyer do the negotiating. No one ever wins a domestic argument and it could get violent. Moreover, your spouse could get the upper hand and have you immediately evicted from your own home under the domestic violence statutes.
9. KEEP YOUR CHILDREN WITH YOU - If you have been your children's primary caregiver, the children should remain with you. The Court will award you child support to assist in caring for them.
10. OPEN A POST OFFICE BOX - In order to make sure that you get any important mail, and that your spouse cannot take any mail; open a post office box at a location that is conveniently located near your home or place of work.
11. CHANGE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA AND EMAIL PASSWORDS - Even if you don't think that your spouse knows your passwords, change them anyway. You do not want any emails sent or posts made under your name without your consent. You also do not want your spouse to have access to your accounts to read anything you have sent.
12. GET YOUR OWN CELL PHONE AND SERVICE PROVIDER - If you and your spouse are on the same cell phone plan, you need to separate them and get your own cell phone plan with a different provider. You do not want to allow your spouse to have access to your calls or to limit your access to your phone.
13. CONSIDER COUNSELING FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILDREN - A good counselor can help you sort out the complex emotions surrounding divorce. It will help you make wiser decisions and may also teach you how to keep your children from being unnecessarily upset.
While this list is not a complete list, these will get you moving in the right direction if you are going through a divorce or separation. Divorce and separation is a difficult time for everybody and the Scott Law Group is here to help you through this difficult time. If you have any additional questions, go to the Family Law section of our website to see if the answer is there. If not, feel free to email us at [email protected] or call (336) 993-5000 to set up an appointment to discuss your matter in detail.