What should you do when you come home from work and your spouse tells you that he or she wants a divorce? What can you do when you are the one that wants out and simply do not want to be with your husband or wife any longer? Your first reaction may be to simply pack up your bags, take the kids, and leave, but that could be a mistake, at least from a legal standpoint.
First Things First…
Before you do anything, your first call needs to be to a local divorce attorney. Set up an appointment and sit down with him or her for a consultation. In most cases, the first meeting is free, so it will not cost you anything to listen to what he or she has to say. At the very least, you will get some sound information as to what you should and should not do in the very near future.
Copy, Copy, Copy
Before you ever walk out the door, if you decide to leave the home, make sure you have copies of all important documents. Some of the items you will need copies of are:
- Automobile title
- Credit card bills
- Bank statements
- Mortgage statements
- Social security statements
- Insurance policies
- Past tax returns
- Business documents if self employed
- Investment accounts
- Retirement accounts
- All other financial statements
- Any computer files related to finances
Part of the divorce settlement is property distribution. Before either party decides to leave the home, it is important to inventory all assets. It is not necessarily a bad thing if the party leaving wants to take some items, they just need to be inventoried and agreed upon so they become part of the suit.
It is very important to nail down actual household finances right away, regardless if you are the one paying the bills or getting assistance from your spouse. You need to establish what the bills for the household budget actually are so they are not misconstrued during the divorce. This protects both parties concerning contributions for the household both while the divorce is ongoing and as part of the settlement.
Two other important financial concerns are debt and spousal income. You need to know exactly what your spouse makes on a weekly basis as well as any bonuses that are paid. In addition, document all “joint” debt, as you do not want to walk away from the divorce only to find out about debt that you never knew existed. If possible, all joint debt should be settled as part of the divorce settlement.
The Kids Have to Remain Important
Regardless of how you feel about your spouse, you need to keep your relationship with your children positive. Spend as much time as you can and try to work with your spouse concerning any arrangements that need to be made. Avoid talking negatively about your spouse in front of them and try to address any discipline as mom and dad, not divorcing husband and wife.
Get legal help for your divorce by filling out the Free Family Law Evaluation Form!