10 Ways to Protect Yourself Before Filing For Divorce
Before filing for divorce consider having a frank and honest discussion with your spouse. If there are open lines of communication, consider mediation first.
However, if the lines of communication between you and your spouse are closed, you should consider * the following measures to protect yourself, your children, and your assets:
1. Talk to a lawyer now – not later. Take advantage of an initial consultation with a good divorce lawyer. Do this before you make a move that you may later regret. A good divorce lawyer will review your goals, and will candidly assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
2. Don’t sign anything. Often a dominant spouse will attempt to force an agreement on the other spouse. Even informal written agreements may result in negative legal consequences to you. Talk to a good Sarasota divorce lawyer before you sign anything.
3. First things first – protect the physical safety of you and your children. Emergency injunctions against domestic violence can be put in place that protect you and your children from an abusive spouse. However, a court order by itself may not provide adequate protection. If you are in immediate danger – call the police. You may also need to enter a secure domestic violence emergency shelter strattera capsule buy online.
4. Don’t get “set up” for a domestic violence charge. Unfortunately, sometimes people with no history of violence, end their marriage with a slap, push or grab. These actions may be grounds for criminal charges – and can have an extremely negative effect in your divorce case. If your spouse is trying to set you up for a domestic violence charge, get away from the situation and immediately hire a lawyer.
5. If custody of your children is an issue – do not move out and leave the children with your spouse. In many cases a judge will try to keep the status quo in place for children at the start of a divorce case. If you have moved out of the family home, and left the children with your spouse, a judge may leave this temporary arrangement in place, for what turns out to be an extended period of time.
6. Cancel joint credit cards. Your spouse may run up huge credit card bills in the weeks just prior to one of you filing for divorce. Consider cancelling/closing joint credit cards. At a minimum consider changing the card status so that no new charges can be made on jointly held cred cards.
7. Have one credit card that is in just your name. The initial stages of a divorce can be very expensive. Having a credit card that is in just your name provides you with the means to pay for any unforeseen extra expenses.
8. Protect your financial records and personal property. Make copies of tax returns, pay stubs, employment contracts, retirement account information, deeds, titles, loan applications, credit card statements, bank/savings account statements, and other such records. If possible get three to five years of these records. Keep your copies of these records in a safe location away from the family home.
You may also want to consider removing special items of personal property for safekeeping. Sometimes any angry spouse in a divorce case, may throw out old family pictures, keepsakes, and collections. The best way to protect these types of “priceless” possessions is to keep them in a safe place, to which you control access.
9. Protect your interest in cash accounts. You may have joint checking and savings accounts with cash balances. (Balances in excess of any uncleared checks that have been written). Consider putting half of any cash balances into an account that is solely in your name, and to which only you have access.
10. Get a temporary order put in place now. There is simply no substitute to a temporary order when it comes to protecting your rights. A temporary order can restrain the sale of property, require the maintenance of insurance policies, order child support and alimony, and put in place a parenting plan (custody order).
In Sarasota, mediation is required before you can schedule a hearing to establish a temporary order. (Except in emergency situations). However, once your case is filed and served, a standing order will be put in place that is binding on both spouses. This standing order provides a number of protections, and may eliminate the need for an additional temporary order. I have provided a link to the standing order below:
* The list above is intended for consideration. Your particular situation may make some of the items discussed inappropriate based on your particular facts. You should take action, only after consulting with a good Sarasota divorce lawyer, about your particular case.