To-Dos and Considerations When Contemplating Divorce January 6, 2022

RAR smallTo-Dos and Considerations When Contemplating Divorce

By Richard A. Rabb, Esq.

Although divorce isn’t a prediction one makes upon entering a marriage, it isn’t a farfetched assumption. In 2012, PolitiFact.com estimated that the lifelong probability of a marriage ending in divorce is 40%–50%.

If divorce is likely to occur in 50% of marriages, it’s helpful to be prepared in the event you are put in the situation to make this decision. Before proceeding with filing for divorce, it is important to understand that it can be a lengthy process. Richard Rabb, Principal and head of our family law practice, lays out his general overview and checklist of considerations to make before jumping into a divorce.

Do Some Homework

Before meeting with your legal counsel, try to understand your options to the extent that you are able. Be prepared to ask questions. It’s best to have at least some nominal appreciation of your circumstances as well as available avenues and processes.

Visit a Psychologist

Divorce is an emotional event. Seeking help from a professional is not only beneficial for your mental health but taking the initiative to seek help when you aren’t in the proper state of mind allows the court, if your case ever makes it that far, to view your efforts as a point of strength.

Establish Financial Peace of Mind

  • Get a copy of your credit report. This will aid in answering questions your legal team may have, as well as questions you may have, regarding your assets, liabilities, and expenses.
  • Go to a bank, where you don’t bank currently, and open your own bank account because when the divorce is over, or sooner, you’re going to need a bank account so you can access your money, pay your bills, and do what you need to do to function without delay.
  • Get a credit card if you don’t have one in your name. In the event your spouse shuts down a shared credit card, having one of your own will allow you to further solidify your financial peace of mind.

Understand Your Assets & Liabilities

Do your research to fully understand your assets and liabilities. Lines of credit are secured on your home, just like a mortgage is secured on your home. This information may be available online so, be aware of these details. Depending on the county you live in, you can visit the county recorder’s office website and enter your address to populate lien information, how the house was titled, if it’s titled jointly or if it’s titled to you, as well as mortgage information and if there is a line of credit associated. If there is a line of credit, there are two things you can do:

  1. If you need money, you can extend on your line of credit and then put that money in your newly established bank account.
  2. If you don’t need money and want to minimize your exposure, as well as ensure your spouse isn’t going to touch your line of credit, write a letter to the bank informing them that you will no longer be obligated for any further charges or extensions on the line of credit. The same goes for minimizing the credit line on shared credit cards.

Appreciate & Secure Your Assets

If you don’t have a grasp on your assets, collect as much relevant material as you can. For example, tax returns will potentially allow for account discovery, provide a concept about the party’s income, and detail other assets that may have generated a loss or gain. Collecting documents that are unique to your case is also important. In securing your assets, be sure to note any accounts that require two signatures as you want to minimize how those accounts can be accessed.

Secure Your Personal Property

Minimize the potential heartache related to items that are personal to you. Know where your priceless personal belongings (i.e., photos, family heirlooms) are located because often, they tend to disappear, and they have no monetary value and generally cannot be recovered.

Get referrals and start interviewing for a financial planner to assist you with budgeting and asset management.

When interviewing for a lawyer, make sure you are comfortable with who you decide to hire. Ensure that they are accessible and know how to best communicate. Most importantly, make certain they answer all the questions you have. Accomplishing all of Richard’s recommended to-do items will best prepare you to take on the divorce process.

If you are considering filing for divorce, please reach out to request a consultation or visit Richard’s bio for his contact information to reach out to him directly.

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