No one is ever prepared for a divorce. When we get married, we believe this is the person we will spend the rest of our lives with but that is not always the case. Unfortunately, some couples grow apart. Whatever the reason might be, you need to take steps to protect yourself and your children if you are considering a divorce.
If you are unhappy in your marriage or if you are just uncertain whether a divorce is the right step for you, our divorce lawyer wants to help. Below are steps that we suggest you take now if you are thinking about leaving your spouse and/or ending your marriage.
Steps to Take Before Filing For Divorce
Call a Divorce Lawyer
As soon as you believe you may be separating from your spouse, call a divorce lawyer. You do not want to make a mistake that could harm your case. A divorce lawyer will tell you the exact steps to take to protect yourself and your children. Those steps may or may not include the things below.
Take an Inventory
Make an inventory of all assets, marital and non-marital, including household items, financial accounts, jewelry, automobiles, boats, clothing, and any other assets. Do not forget to check storage buildings, storage areas, lock boxes, safes, and safety deposit boxes. You may want to consider taking pictures of some items, especially high-dollar items and jewelry.
Make copies of important documents such as deeds, titles, tax returns, investment statements, bank statements, check registers, retirement account statements, credit card statements, wills, health insurance cards/policies, life insurance policies, and employee benefit handbooks. If you have a family business, do not forget to make copies of as much information as possible regarding the business. If you spouse is self-employed, gather as much information as you can about his or her business too.
Obtain a Copy of Your Credit Report
Examine your credit report to determine what debts are marital debts and what debts are solely in your name. If possible, copy your spouse’s credit report if it is with your other important papers (you should not order a copy of your spouse’s credit report without permission – only make a copy of it is with other marital documents).
Make a Family Budget
If you do not have a family budget, make a list of all household income and all household expenses. Try to obtain copies of receipts, bills, paystubs, or other evidence of each item. It is very important that you know how much you earn and how much your spouse earns in addition to the debts and expenses of the household.
Begin Saving Money
It is always wise to have access to money that is just your money. If you do not have access to money that is your money, begin saving money now. You will need a retainer for the divorce lawyer and you may need to pay the household bills until a temporary support order can be obtained if your spouse suddenly moves out and stops paying the bills.
Your Children Should Come First
Ending a marriage is an emotional, stressful, painful, and frustrating time for you and for your spouse; however, divorce is usually hardest for the children. Make your children your top priority. Try to keep their routines as close to normal as possible. Never speak ill about your spouse in front of your children and try not to argue in front of your children. Remain involved in your children’s lives and activities even if your spouse has temporary custody.
Being informed and prepared is the best thing you can do if you are contemplating a divorce. Our North Carolina divorce lawyer can help you prepare for what lies ahead. We understand this is a difficult time for you and for your family; therefore, we want to provide the support, guidance, and legal advice you need to help you get through this so that you can heal and go on with your life.
Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer
“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”
Welch and Avery represents clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County, and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 665-9134 or contact us online today for a case evaluation.
When you are going through a divorce, you need a divorce lawyer who will aggressively protect your best interests and the best interests of your children. If you are considering a divorce or you have already separated from your spouse, you need to contact our office as soon as possible to consult with our divorce lawyer. The actions you take now could have substantial consequences on your case.
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