A divorce is always difficult for anyone who’s involved, but you can take some steps in advance that will make the divorce process just a bit easier.
If your spouse is the person who is filing for the divorce, you will need to take these steps as soon as you are served with the divorce papers:
- Make copies of every document that may be important.
- Take direct action to protect yourself financially.
- Put the kids first – they are your top priority.
- It is imperative to discuss your situation with a good divorce attorney.
STEP ONE: MAKE COPIES OF EVERYTHING
The first important step that you should take before a divorce is to go through all of your files and household papers and make copies of everything: bank statements, tax returns, insurance policies, mortgage documents, credit card statements, automobile titles – literally everything.
If your partner is self-employed, gather as much information as you can about the business and its finances. Make hard copies of any important documents that are filed on the home computer. Make several copies of everything and store those copies securely – and away from your home.
STEP TWO: PROTECT YOURSELF FINANCIALLY
When a divorce becomes an inevitability, you must take steps to protect your finances, to open up new accounts solely in your name, and to establish your own credit. Before the divorce process begins, you should take the three steps listed here to protect yourself financially:
If you have a joint bank account, withdraw half the balance and create a new personal account at another bank. Inform your spouse in writing about the withdrawals, copy the letter before sending it, and store the copy with your other important documents.
Cancel any jointly-owned credit cards, and do not tell your partner beforehand. If you do, a vindictive or irresponsible partner might create new debts that could become your obligation. After you’ve cancelled the credit cards, then tell your partner.
Stop making contributions to any IRAs and 401(k) plans. If necessary, ask your employer how to stop your contributions. Your partner may be entitled to some of these funds, so you cannot allow a retirement account or a pension fund to keep growing.
To buy a home, obtain a loan, or open a credit card account, you’ll have to present proof of your identity and your financial condition. Be certain that you’re going to have access to all of the documents and information that you might need to restart your life as an unmarried person.
STEP THREE: PUT THE KIDS FIRST
Everyone knows that the people most negatively affected by a divorce are the children. Take the time and effort to ensure that children are acclimating and adjusting to the divorce.
By adhering to the three principles listed below, parents can help children through this difficult period:
Parents must leave the kids out of whatever problems the parents may have with one another. If you need to complain to someone about a spouse or about an ex-spouse, speak with a friend or a counselor, and see to it that the kids don’t overhear you.
Children need space and time alone to deal with their feelings about divorce, so don’t overcompensate and “smother” a child emotionally during the divorce process. Kids shouldn’t have their feelings “bottled up,” even by a parent with good intentions.
A child’s behavior can sometimes indicate an emerging problem. Give a child space, but monitor your child so that the right steps can be taken if they’re needed. Help and advice are abundantly available through both the public and private sector for divorcing parents.
STEP FOUR: DISCUSS YOUR SITUATION WITH A GOOD DIVORCE ATTORNEY
If you are divorcing or anticipating a divorce in Indiana, before you make any final decisions or take any irrevocable actions, you must be advised – as early as possible – by an experienced Lake County divorce attorney. You’ll need to work with a divorce lawyer who can ensure that:
- You are treated justly and fairly in a divorce proceeding.
- The division of property and assets in your divorce is fair and accurate.
- The best interests of your children are safeguarded.
- Every attempt has been made to reach agreements with your spouse before going to trial.
IN WHAT OTHER WAYS WILL A SKILLED DIVORCE LAWYER HELP YOU?
A divorce should not conclude with you losing your home or kids or declaring bankruptcy. Your divorce lawyer will protect your interests, will make sure that you’re treated fairly, and will see to it that your divorce settlement lets you move forward constructively and positively.
A divorce is an extremely emotional experience for almost everyone, but a good divorce lawyer is a detached third party who can remain objective while working for the best possible resolution of the issues in dispute.
You will also need an attorney to help you work through the avalanche of paperwork that every Indiana divorce entails. If you have kids, real estate, or a business, if you are in debt, or if you have a pension plan or retirement account, a mistake in the legal paperwork could be disastrous.
WHAT OTHER MEASURES SHOULD YOU CONSIDER?
Here are some additional steps that you should consider taking before the divorce process begins:
If you want to emerge from your divorce proceeding with a positive outlook, you must have the support of others. If that support isn’t available from friends or family members, it’s not difficult to find a support group in your area.
If you are divorcing because of domestic violence, find a way to remove yourself from the circumstances at once. Find a safe place, and speak with your divorce attorney about your options.
Anything you say – and any picture you post – on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site could be used against you by your spouse’s attorney. Most divorce lawyers would tell you to avoid using social media entirely until your divorce has been finalized.
If you are divorcing, considering divorce, or expecting to be served divorce papers, have a Lake County divorce attorney review your situation, answer your questions, and address your concerns – before the legal process begins. A good divorce lawyer’s help is imperative, and it’s your right.