Preparing for a divorce isn’t easy. This is often a financially and emotionally trying time, and it can lead to mistakes during the divorce preparation period that introduce more snags and stress into the process down the road. However, you can keep your divorce progressing as smoothly as possible in your situation by avoiding these common preparation pitfalls.
Not Knowing Where You Are Financially
You need to uncover all you can about your current assets and those your partner may have. You should also know how to access or get access to all the accounts of the marriage, including bank accounts and retirement and investment accounts. If you are not sure what to do here, speak to your family law attorney and a financial advisor. If you currently have an advisor who also has a relationship with your spouse, you may want to speak to a different advisor who is independent of your situation entirely.
Failing to Set an Emergency Fund
Once you filed for your divorce and your spouse receives the paperwork, access to bank account funds could prove difficult. Your spouse could close off your access to accounts if they are the primary owner of them or start spending money from the joint accounts even though they shouldn’t. To be on the safe side, you should try to have an emergency fund your spouse can’t access before you file. Ideally, you’ll want to have at least enough money to cover three months of your basic expenses. You may be expecting to receive spousal or child support, but you need to keep in mind that it won’t happen immediately in many cases, so you can’t rely on it from the start.
Not Having an Exit Plan
You will have to decide if you want to leave the family home or stay once you file for divorce. You’re not required to leave, but if you are not comfortable living with your spouse as the divorce moves forward, you should have a plan covering where you will live as the divorce unfolds. You are not giving up rights to the marital home if you have to move out because the situation is uncomfortable or not safe for you. If you have children, be sure to keep up regular contact with them, document visits and stay involved in their lives if you do move out.
Keep in mind that if you are the one who moves out of the family home, you’ll want to document all you left behind. If your spouse moves out, document everything they removed from the home. In general, you’ll want to document and keep anything related to the divorce that happens between you and your spouse, including correspondence in the form of texts, emails and other means of communication. Takes photos of all the rooms to keep a visual record of what you left behind.
Failing to Keep the Divorce off of Social Media
Social media can be a great way to communicate about your life to family and friends, but it’s not the place to post about your divorce. If, for example, you make negative posts about your spouse on a social media account, it could get back to them and increase the level of animosity in your divorce. Posting about how your spouse is a bad parent will not gain any favor from a judge in your custody case; in fact, it will do the opposite. Speak to trusted family members and friends privately about your divorce to vent your feelings, instead of doing so online where your spouse may be able to access what you said and use it against you.
Preparing for your divorce now can help make the experience easier down the road. Contact a family law attorney for help with your divorce prep process to ensure all your bases are covered.