Coming to terms with the fact that your marriage is or may be ending is an overwhelming and emotional time. So much so that to some people, it feels as if they are in a “fog.” However, it is important that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your family, and your future.
First and foremost, do not commit to any agreements with your spouse as to property division, custody, or support without speaking to an attorney. Unless you have the advice of experienced legal counsel, you may agree to something that is not in your best interests or in the best interest of your family.
Second, keep an eye on your finances: your credit score, bank accounts, and other financial information. Nobody knows your personal information better than your spouse- if you receive a “Thank You For Your Application!” notification from a credit card company, don’t ignore it! Call and ask if an application was submitted in your name. Look for any withdrawals from bank accounts that seem abnormal. If you notice uncommon activity on your bank accounts, get to a family law attorney as soon as possible for advice.
Most Courts ask that the parties maintain the status quo during a divorce. This means that each party pays any bills or expenses that they customarily paid during the marriage. This will be the standard until otherwise agreed or ordered by the Court.
If you and your spouse share children, and you are seeking custody of those children, it is recommended you do not vacate the residence without them if at all possible. If there is abuse in the home, call the police. Be safe, not sorry. Otherwise, try and keep your children’s routine as much as possible, and do not involve them in your marital issues. Bringing children into “adult” arguments is frowned upon by the Courts, and can show you do not have the ability to set aside your own feelings in favor of what is best for the child.
Watch your social media- or better yet, stay off of it. Social media is a goldmine for evidence for family law attorneys. I have a saying, “don’t put anything in writing that you would not like a Judge to read.” This includes not only social media, but text messages, emails, and other communications.
If you have personal property- furniture, artwork, memorabilia, or the like- that has value, take a video or pictures of those items and the current state of those items. I would recommend taking pictures and doing a video of the entire home. You may not remember certain items were in the home until they are missing and removed, and if they have value, it is important to show where those items were located and what condition they were in on a certain date.
Seeking advice from a family law attorney is the quickest way to receive the best advice for your particular case. If you and your spouse are discussing a divorce, or you feel a divorce may be in your future, reach out today.